A 2000 year-old silver coin from Africa – found in a field in Lincolnshire!
Author: Heather Hughes
Photo: Lincolnshire County Council
In 2014, a detectorist found this very rare object in south Lincolnshire. It came all the way from the North African Kingdom of Numidia.
Numidia was located in present-day western Tunisia and eastern Algeria in the second century BCE. It was allied to Carthage in a common struggle against Roman conquest. In 146 BCE, however, Carthage fell to Rome. After many decades of further resistance, Numidia became a Roman client state. King Juba I was one of its remarkable leaders, who fought on the side of Pompeii in the Roman Civil War. Available evidence suggests he struck a substantial amount of silver coinage (denarii) to pay his troops. He died in 46 BCE.
This coin found in Lincolnshire is an example. Struck between 64 and 60 BCE, one can just read the legend: REX IUBA (King Juba). It was still in circulation at the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, beginning in 43CE. It probably came in the pockets of soldiers, who were drawn from all over the Roman Empire.
This coin symbolises many things: the longevity of African history; the history of conquest in the UK; stories of migration and global journeys down the centuries; stories of more recent imperial conquest.
In terms of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Collection recorded the details of the coin and returned it to its finder. The Collection is in principle willing for us to use the image of the coin as a symbol if we would like to do so.