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Trade and Exchange in Anglo-Saxon Wessex, AD 600-780

Costen, MD and Costen, NP (2016) Trade and Exchange in Anglo-Saxon Wessex, AD 600-780. Medieval Archaeology, 60 (1). ISSN 1745-817X


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This paper assesses the provenance and general distribution of coins of the period c 600–c 780 found in the west of Anglo‐Saxon Wessex. It shows that the distribution of coin finds is not a function of the habits of metal detectorists, but a reflection of the real pattern of losses. In the second part of the paper, an analysis of the observed distributions is presented which reveals that the bulk of trade, of which the coins are a sign, was carried on through local ports and that foreign trade was not mediated through Hamwic, but came directly from the continent. The distribution of coin finds also suggests an important export trade, probably in wool and woollen goods, controlled from major local centres. There are also hints of a potentially older trade system in which hillforts and other open sites were important.

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