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Nerva to Commodus Coins

The distribution of second century coins (96-192) shows a very similar pattern to Flavian coinage. During these years the military forces in Wales were steadily reduced, the towns at Caerwent and Carmarthen were established and developed, while a number of Romanized rural farmsteads (villas) appeared in the south of the country. The monetization of Wales, however, survived the departure of the army, even in areas where other forms of Roman culture are otherwise lacking, and coins were to remain a characteristic feature of Roman Wales. Many rural sites on the north and south coasts produce coins of the first and second centuries, often in large quantities, and many hoards are known from these areas too. It is also the case, however, that hardly any coins have been recovered from large parts of Wales.

The absence of early Roman coins from the highlands may be related to the nature of the economy and the local populations, which either did not require coins, or only saw their use in specific locations (for example, seasonal markets). Alternatively, this pattern might also occur if the ability to use coins was deliberately withheld from these regions, or if coins were actively resisted by their populations. The lack of any finds of early Roman coins from coastal areas such as Ceredigion or the Lleyn Peninsula cannot be explained as modern phenomena, but is likely to be a reflection of the ancient pattern of coin supply and use. There is no indication that these areas were unoccupied and here it is possible that the nature of the local economy meant that coins were not needed in any quantities, or that the local populations was able somehow to reject their use (though coins would have had to have been used here, as elsewhere, to pay taxes).