Quarter stater of King Cunobelin

The Kimbolton Coin Hoard contains 68 gold coins, dated to about 100BCE-40CE. The coins were found close to the village of Kimbolton by a metal detectorist in late 2010, and subsequently identified as Iron Age ‘stater’ coins by the British Museum.

The 68th coin in the hoard is a gold quarter stater of Cunobelin, who was the powerful king of the Catuvellauni tribe, with influence over much of the East of England around 10-40CE.  His coin displays an image of a horse and the letters CUN for Cunobelin, and on the other side an ear of wheat and the letters CAMV, indicating the coin was struck in Colchester, or Camulodunum as it was known in Roman Britain. The Catuvellauni occupied an area which roughly now covers parts of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, but his presence on a coin struck in Colchester suggests he also held a great deal of sway over the Trinovantes tribe, who held Colchester as their capital.

The discovery of this coin amongst the hoard really helps us to really narrow down the time period that the coins were buried. We know that the hoard must not have been placed in the ground any earlier than 10CE at the start of Cunobelin’s rule, though how long after this they were buried cannot be determined. Soon after Cunobelin’s death, a great power struggle for territory erupted between his sons and vicious fighting soon followed. Could this period of instability have been the driving force behind the coins’ burial, perhaps for safe keeping by their owners?

Read more about the Kimbolton coin hoard here.