Tribal coins from the Iron Age dating back to 800 BC

Britain before the Romans (Ipswich)

The Iron Age spanned the period between 800 BC and AD 43. The Romans called the people of our islands the Britons but that is not what they would have called themselves.

People would have thought of themselves as members of their tribe and not part of a united Britain. The distribution of different tribal coins is a useful way for archaeologists to understand the extent of any one tribe’s power and the wider political landscape at that time.

The Iceni tribal land covered what is now modern Norfolk, north Suffolk and parts of Cambridgeshire. Their neighbours the Trinovantes occupied what is now modern Essex and south Suffolk but were ruled by the Catuvellani whose tribal power base was in Hertfordshire.

There are five coins of the Corieltavi tribe in the hoard who were close neighbours of the Iceni on their northern borders in the area of modern day Lincolnshire. This could indicate a close trade relationship or political alliance between the two tribes.

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