Curator of Early Medieval Coinage
Coinage of Early Medieval Britain and Europe Department:
Coins and Medals
Gareth Williams has been a curator at the Museum since 1996, with responsibility for British and European coinage, about AD 500 to about 1180. Within this area he specialises in Anglo-Saxon and Viking coinage. Much of his work focuses on the use of coinage as evidence within broader historical and archaeological studies.
His wider research includes the history of the British Isles and Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages, with particular interests in different types of economy, medieval warfare and military organization and the history and archaeology of the Vikings. He also works on the history of cultural identities, with a particular focus on the changing nature of British identity.
He has strong interests in experimental archaeology, and has been actively involved in historical re-enactment for several years. Since 2002, he has also directed a collaborative research project on the history of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire.
+44 (0)20 7323 8257
Viking Warfare and Military Organisation
This book, due for completion in 2010-2011, provides a general introduction to the history of warfare in the Viking age, together with a detailed study of the underlying systems of military organization and their broader links to Viking society.
The Vale of York Hoard and other Viking hoards in Britain and Ireland
The Vale of York hoard, found in 2007, is the most important Viking hoard found in Britain since 1840, with a mixture of coins, ingots, intact ornaments and hack-silver (silver cut up for bullion) all contained in a beautiful gilt-silver cup. A short book for the non-specialist (co-authored with Barry Ager) has already been published, and the hoard will also form the focus of a more extensive research project and publication on Viking hoards from Britain and Ireland.
Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles: British Museum, Anglo-Saxon Coins volume 10
This volume covers the Expanding Cross and Pointed Helmet types of Edward the Confessor (1042-66), and includes a corpus of the Expanding Cross type, and the publication of the Appledore Hoard.
World of Money CD-Rom, 1998
This CD provided an interactive guide to the history of money throughout the world, and explored the nature of money as well as how it has been made, saved, and used.
Paid in Burnt Silver: Wealth and Power in the Viking Age, 2000
Temporary exhibition exploring the changing nature of wealth, power and society in the Viking Age.
Coenwulf gold coin touring exhibition
The unique gold mancus of Coenwulf of Mercia was acquired by the British Museum in 2006, and has featured in an extensive programme of temporary exhibitions. Venues so far include the British Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and the British Library, and the coin formed the centrepiece of the collaborative exhibition Gold, Gods and Kings: The Anglo-Saxons in Bedfordshire at Bedford Museum in 2007.
Tutbury Castle research project
This is a collaborative project with Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire and the University of Birmingham, and covers the history and archaeology of Tutbury Castle and the surrounding area, including the Tutbury Hoard of 1831, the largest coin hoard ever discovered in Britain. The project formed the subject of the exhibition Ruin and rebellion: uncovering the past at Tutbury Castle in Room 69a at the British Museum from July 2009 to March 2010. Elements of this exhibition are now on display at Tutbury Castle. The results of the research project will be published as a monograph in late 2010.
Portraits in Gold and Silver
The exhibition Portraits in Gold and Silver: Coins and Medals of the Tudors and Stuarts looks at the way that coins and medals were used to present public images of English and Scottish rulers from the l480s to the 1660s. The exhibition at Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire is based around electrotype copies of objects in the British Museum collection, and opened on April 13, 2009.
A Riverine Site in North Yorkshire
This site (the precise location of which remains a secret) came to light in 2004 as a result of the discovery of a Viking hoard by metal detectorists. It was subsequently investigated by the York Archaeological Trust, and metal detecting has also revealed a large assemblage of other objects, mostly dating from the Viking Age. The site throws new light on exchange and bullion-economies at the very beginning of the Viking settlement of England in the mid 870s. A report on the site and finds, produced in collaboration by the British Musuem and the York Archaeological Trust, will be published in 2011.
External fellowships/ honorary positions
Director of Research, Tutbury Castle: www.tutburycastle.com
Advisor, Tutbury Castle Trust www.tutburyresearch.org
Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London
Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
G. Williams, Eirik Bloodaxe (Kernavik: Saga Bok, 2010)
G. Williams and B.Ager, Objects in Focus: the Vale of York Hoard (London: British Musuem Press, 2010)
G. Williams, Early Anglo-Saxon Coins (Oxford: Shire Books 2008)
G. Williams, Silver Economy in the Viking Age, edited with J. Graham-Campbell (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2007)
G. Williams, West Over Sea, edited with B. Ballin Smith and S. Taylor, (Leiden: Brill, 2007)
G. Williams, Coinage and History in the North Sea World, c. 500-1250, edited with B. Cook, (Leiden: Brill, 2006)
G. Williams, Sagas, Saints and Settlements, edited with P. Bibire (Leiden: Brill, 2004)
G. Williams, World of Money CD-ROM (London: British Museum Multimedia, 1998)