Winsum-Bruggeburen, first report on the excavation. An early Roman outpost among the Frisians? Part one: The Roman coins


  • M.C. Galestin


The early Roman pottery fragments discovered at Winsum (Friesland) have long been interpreted as an indication of the presence of the Roman army. Recent discoveries in other sites (e.g. Velsen) have led to the questioning of this interpretation and when the possibility to excavate at Winsum-Bruggeburen was presented, the Groningen Institute of Archaeology took this opportunity. The excavation brought to light many different early Roman objects (Augustan/Tiberian) and also pottery and coins dating to the second and third centuries AD.

This first report presents the Roman coins dating from the Republic into the third century. Although in some instances a relation between the coins and archaeological features dating to the Roman Iron Age could be attested, clearly Roman features lacked completely. Still the presence of the early coins and other artefacts at this site so far north and close to the sea has to be connected with activities of the Roman army in this part of the world. The date and type of the early Roman coins, denarii and asses (often halved and countermarked), strongly points to a relation between Frisians and the Roman army while the coins of the later period strengthen the view of the existence of a kind of monetary exchange of goods and services between (and maybe among) Frisians and Romans.