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Learning Objectives

Life in Roman Bristol

Coins and how they changed life in Britain


The earliest coins in Britain were made in the Iron Age not long before the Roman conquest. Before the Romans invaded, people bartered for things that they needed.

When the Romans invaded the Roman soldiers had to be paid in coins which they used to buy food and other goods. This introduced coins to the Britons who gradually started to use them in markets and shops.

At first there werenít enough official coins to pay the soldiers and so unofficial copies were used, although it is unlikely that anyone knew the difference.

Most early Roman coins in Britain come from mints in Gaul (modern France), though later coins were made in London.

Before the Romans arrived the bartering system had been used in the trade of goods for thousands of years.

What were the main features of life in a bartering economy and how were these changed by the introduction of coins?
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