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"Those Odds and Troves of Medieval Ireland’s Coinage that Keep it Rolling" by Dr Alexey Shitvov

The Irish society in many aspect constitutes a unique phenomenon, an example of traditional social fabric of highest resilience. First acquaintances of coins gained through the contacts with Roman Britain did not let the native Celtic coinage sprout, as in other parts of Britain and Europe. The absence of a coin-based economy in the Early Christian Ireland went side by side with high literacy of the Irish society and its complex social structure, thus precluding incautious statements on the primitive economy of Ireland at the time. For a long period of time Ireland operated a status economy with the function of money reserved to the prestige area of payments and social obligations. The transition to the bullion economy and further to the coin economy in the eleventh century coincided with the arrival of Vikings and emergence of the new Hiberno-Norse identity and respective local coinage. This paper, presented at the Department of Archaeology and Palaeoecology of the Queen's University Belfast, revisits the social and economic prerequisites of the Irish monetary system from the earliest archaeological evidence through to the reign of Edward III. Read the full story here.

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