Wedding João I and Filipa Lencastre

A numismatic perspective

Contact and commerce between Portugal and United Kingdom during the Medieval and Post-Medieval period

As an archaeologist, one of the most common questions asked of you is, “have you found any coins?” Coins evoke the mystery of archaeology and can provide a wealth of information, particularly if they are foreign coins, which invites the question as to how and why they have ended up where they were found.

On Tuesday, February 4, the Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) will be presenting a lecture by numismatist (coin expert) Tiago Gil Curado. The two lectures, in English, will be at 2.30pm at the Museu do Traje in São Brás, and at 6pm at the Convento de São José in Lagoa.

The lecture will look at the contact between Portugal and England and what is considered to be the oldest alliance still valid in the world which has lasted for 646 years and involved much more than royal weddings.

It was a vehicle through which the countries reinforced their military defences against common enemies, a cooperation that strengthened the partnership and also helped to reduce taxes on businesses. There is archaeological evidence of this alliance in both countries dating from the medieval period.

With regards to commerce, it involved not only the goods that were traded, but also the currency of both countries. Some of the coins that were used to buy products from Portugal were lost or thrown away and are today found in many places in the UK.

As part of his Masters dissertation undertaken in the UK, Tiago Curado recorded 291 Portuguese coins dating from between the 13th and the 18th century. The coins were recovered from archaeological excavation and shipwrecks, but mostly as casual finds from metal detecting.

Through their study, it has been possible to confirm the history of commerce between Portugal and England and bring new information to the story of both countries and the beginning of the era of globalisation.

Tiago Gil Curado undertook his Archaeology degree in Lisbon and subsequently undertook his MA at Durham University, UK. He chose the study of coins for his thesis and researched all the Portuguese coins found in the UK looking at how, when and why they ended up there. Upon his return to Lisbon he embarked on the research for his PhD.

He has been undertaking a socioeconomic study of Lisbon through the coins found in many archaeological excavations in the city.

After almost seven years of research, reading and writing, he will defend his final work next year.

Non-members are welcome to attend AAA lectures for a €5 admission fee, with all money raised by the AAA being used for archaeological grants and speakers.

For more information, email algarvearchass@gmail.com, visit arquealgarve.weebly.com or Facebook ‘Algarve Archaeological Association’. Check the website or Facebook page for any last-minute changes.

By JANE ROBERTSON

Chinfrão (silver coin of Afonso V of Portugal)
Coin weight
Fake Pedro II pierced coin
Wedding João I and Filipa Lencastre