Showing posts from March, 2021

A Merovingian Croix Ancrée Tremissis, Sutton Hoo, and Declining Gold Content in the 7th Century Coinage

In the recent Netflix film "The Dig" there is a scene in which Basil Brown's character shows a small gold coin, known as a tremissis, to Edith Pretty, confirming that the ship burial at Sutton Hoo is of Anglo Saxon age as he had previously suspected. A Merovingian tremissis found in Kent, 10 mm across 37 such coins, all from Merovingian Francia, were found at Sutton Hoo, associated with the remains of an elaborate purse. These coins have commanded a great deal of attention as a potential means to constrain the date of the burial. This is a highly imprecise process (the coins are not datable to within a range shorter than 16 years), relying on recognising issues associated with known rulers, identifying the youngest of these, speculating from there as to how much younger the undated coins may be, and then how much later the assembled group was deposited in the ship burial. Plan of  the Sutton Hoo Mound 1 burial chamber in Burger et al (2016), combined from versions by Phil