It is important to consider the general background of coin finds in Wales before the patterns of Iron Age and early Roman coin finds are examined in detail. This is because we must be aware of and appreciate the overall picture in order to assess the significance of distribution patterns observed for particular coins or coinages. For example, if Pembrokeshire produces a concentration of coin finds of a particular period, is that because south-western Wales always produces more coins than other areas or is the concentration limited to coins of that period alone? Therefore, taking account of the numismatic background will result in interpretations of more localised patterns that are more reliable and consequently more meaningful.
The map on this page shows the distribution of all find spots of Iron Age and Roman coins in Wales. This records only where coins have been recovered and does not, at this stage, take into account the number of coins found in individual locations.
However, it is immediately apparent that the distribution of coin finds in Wales shows concentrations on the coastal areas, particularly in the southeast and north, as well as along the river valleys that dissect the Welsh uplands (the two finds in the Bristol Channel are groups of coins whose provenances are only recorded as 'Glamorgan' and 'Wales', not shipwrecks).
It is also important to draw attention to areas where coins have not been recorded as the absence of material culture can be as significant as its presence.
In Wales very few coins have been recovered from the highlands (above 240m) as well as some coastal regions, for example the Lleyn Peninsula on the north-western tip of mainland Wales.