Relations between the Late Roman World and Barbarian Europe in the Light of Coin Finds
XIV International Economic History Congress, Helsinki (2006), Session 30
The area considered in the present contribution is East Central and Northern (Scandinavia) Europe, settled by peoples referred to in the written sources as superiores barbari. As such we leave out from the discussion the zone directly bordering on the Roman Empire settled by proximi ripae. Roman contacts with these two zones of the barbarian world were essentially different. This is reflected both by historical accounts and by the differences in archaeological evidence, including coin finds (Wolters 1988, Kehne 1989, Berger 1992, 1996, Erdrich 2001).
Mass influx of coinage to the area of interest started relatively late, ie, during the second half of AD 2nd century, more exactly, during the Marcomman Wars. This dating is indicated by oldest hoards, which barring a few exceptions, are closed – at the earliest – by issues from the times of Marcus Aurelius, and by archaeological context of coin finds in graves or bog deposits, where they may be dated in principle, at the earliest, to the second half or even last quarter of AD 2nd century (Nielsen 1992; Berger 1992, 122-160; Bursche 2002; 2003a; Bemmann 2005).