Money of the Poor

Author(s): Laura Burnett

Year: 2023


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Poverty And Plenty In The North", at the 2023 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Increased monetisation - the plentiful supply of money, including physical cash - is often seen as an unalloyed economic good. However, studies which focus on money supply as an abstract, rather than money's physical and institutional form, can underplay variations in access to money and to specific types of money. Archaeology provides evidence for variations in money supply across regions, nationally and globally. In the Post Medieval world archaeology also reveals the widespread, usually unofficial, use of non-state coinages and alternative currencies.

The development of trade tokens in mid-17th-century Britain created a new type of money, often stated to be 'For the Poor'. This paper will use the material evidence of the tokens themselves to explore how such tokens reflected, and created, changes in credit and social relationships. Widespread adoption of this new object, and increased monetisation, rather than being a sign of plenty may have increased and re-enforced inequality.

Cite this Record

Money of the Poor. Laura Burnett. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Lisbon, Portugal. 2023 ( tDAR id: 475878) ; doi:10.48512/XCV8475878

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1600 to 1680

Spatial Coverage

min long: -6.35; min lat: 49.799 ; max long: 2.263; max lat: 55.89 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Nicole Haddow

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
SHA-Lisbon.pdf 1.85mb May 1, 2023 Jun 21, 2023 1:58:05 PM Public
Slides from the talk. Please contact the author for elaboration and discussion. All token images courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum. All maps authors own and not to be reproduced without permission.