Ian Leins

Curator of Iron Age and Roman coins
Coinage of the Roman Empire; Iron Age Britain and Europe

Department: Coins and Medals 

Ian Leins is responsible for the Museum’s collection of 10,000 Iron Age coins and part of its 150,000 strong Roman coin collection. His main interests surround the history, archaeology and coinage of Iron Age and Roman Britain and his current research explores the role of Iron Age coinage as a source for understanding the societies of southern Britain before the Roman conquest of AD 43.

He is involved in the recording and cataloguing of coin hoards. New hoards, ranging from two or three coins to many thousands, are reported all the time, and the Museum has a statutory responsibility to provide expert advice to aid the HM Coroner who determines the status and future of these discoveries. Ian also manages the Department of Coins and Medals digitization project, which has already resulted in more than 150,000 images being made available through the Museum’s Collections Online webpages.

Current projects

‘Celts’ (a collaborative project with the National Museum of Scotland)

‘European Celtic Art in Context’ (a Leverhulme funded research project in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford University)

The online publication of data from the Celtic Coin Index (Oxford)

Previous projects

"Numismatic Data Reconsidered: Coin distributions and interpretation in studies of Late Iron Age Britain" (collaborative doctoral award with Newcastle University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council)

A reassessment of the use of coinage in the reconstruction of the societies in late Iron Age Britain (collaborative doctoral research with Birkbeck College, University of London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council)

Coin finds from the East Leicestershire ritual site

Public Image: Portraits on Coins and Medals (2004) and displays to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (2002).

Online guide to Roman Coinage: finds.org.uk/romancoins

Online catalogue: Roman Republican coins in the British Museum, (ed.) with Eleanor Ghey (ed.) and descriptions and chronology after M.H. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage (1974)

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

  • Associate member of the Museums Association (AMA) since January 2005

  • Director of the British Numismatic Society (BNS) from December 2010

Recent publications

I. Leins, ‘The Coins’, in D. Graham (ed.), An early Roman ritual site on Frensham Common (Surrey Archaeological Collections, forthcoming)

I. Leins & D. Hurst, ‘The Pershore Hoards and Votive Deposition in the Iron Age’, Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society 24 (2014)

I Leins & D Hurst, ‘The Pershore hoards and votive deposition in the Iron Age’, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 79 (2013), pp. 297-325

I. Leins, ‘The Coins’, in V. Score (ed.), Hoards, hounds and helmets: a conquest period ritual site at Hallaton, Leicestershire (Leicester Archaeology Monograph 21, 2011), pp. 39-60 and 175-277

I Leins, ‘Fragments Reunited: Reconstructing the Iron Age Bedworth hoard’, in Numismatic Chronicle 171 (2011), pp. 81-86  

I. Leins and R. Kelleher, ‘Coins in context: archaeology, treasure and the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, in B. Cook (ed.) The British Museum and the future of UK numismatics. Proceedings of a conference held to mark the 150th anniversary of the British Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals, 2011 (London: The British Museum Press, 2011)

I. Leins and J. Talbot, ‘Before Boudicca: The Wickham Market Hoard and the Middle Phase gold coinage of East Anglia’, British Numismatic Journal 80 (2010)

I. Leins (ed.), with E. Ghey (ed.) and M.H. Crawford (contribution by), A catalogue of the Roman Republican Coins in the British Museum, with descriptions and chronology based on M.H Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, 1974, British Musuem online catalogue (2010)

I. Leins, Coin Hoards from Roman Britain XII, with R.Abdy, E. Ghey and C. Hughes, (Wettern: Montea 97, 2009)

I. Leins, 'Celtic Coinage', with M. Nick and S. Nieto-Pelletier, in M.Amandry and D. Bateson (eds.), A Survey of Numismatic Research 2002-2007 (Glasgow, International Association of Proffessional Numismatists special publication 15, 2009)

I. Leins, 'What can be inferred from the regional stylistic diversity of Iron Age coinage', in D. Garrow, C. Gosden and J. D. Hill (eds.), Rethinking Celtic Art (Oxford: Oxbow, 2008)

I. Leins, Roman, Medieval and later coins from the Vintry, City of London, with R. Kelleher, Numismatic Chronicle 168 (2008)

I. Leins, 'Coins in Context: Coinage and votive deposition in Iron Age South-east Leicestershire' in British Numismatic Journal 77 (2007), pp.22-48

I. Leins, ‘Community, Politics and Sacrifice: The East Leicestershire hoard’ in British Archaeology, 89 (2006), pp. 34-9

I. Leins, ‘Domitianus II: The forgotten emperor’ in Current Archaeology, 194 (2004), pp. 76-9

I. Leins, The Age of Augustus, M. G. L. Cooley (ed.), (London: LACTOR, 2003), pp. 203ff; 311ff; 377ff

I. Leins, Treasure Activity Book (London: British Museum Press, 2003)

I. Leins, Coin Hoards from Roman Britain XI, with R. Abdy and J. Williams, (London: Royal Numismatic Society Special Publications 36, 2002)