Money, currency and bartering to get the things you want

This resource is part of the Museum Snapshot collection - a collection of smaller resources perfect for starters, plenaries or spare moments to explore something fascinating.


This gold coin is called a stater and dates back to the 1st Century CE - the Iron Age. It was made by the Corieltavi tribe, but was used by other tribes too.  This particular coin was found in the land of the Celtic Parisi tribe, who lived in East Yorkshire alongside the Romans. They were a group of people who farmed in Yorkshire. 

Between about 300 and 100 BCE, a custom special to the Parisi tribe was the chariot burials they gave their chieftons or wealthy members of the community. Chariot burials are tombs in which the dead person was buried together with their chariot. Finds of this kind of burial are rare, and the people buried were either chieftains or wealthy, or both. The East Yorkshire Parisi lived in the same way as other British people in most ways; they just had this unusual burial custom.

The Alorese Drums of Indonesia and Cowry shells are both objects used as a different form of currency.

Glossary

Iron Age - is the time after the Bronze Age, when the use of iron or steel became common
Chieftain - group leader or ruler
Negotiate - Bargain, consult or discuss

Discussion Ideas:

  • Money as we know it is just one form of currency, but we could use others. Bartering is a system where people exchanged goods rather than use money. What could you 'barter' if you wanted something? Don't think just about possessions, it could be your skills that you barter with.
  • When bartering with someone, how would you decide that what you gave was roughly the same in value as what you got back? Would it matter if it wasn't, as long as it was something that both people wanted?
  • Funerals don't always mean people are buried in the ground when they die. What other types of funerals are there? 

Activity Ideas:

  • Get into groups of five or six (too small a group and there won't be so much negotiating to do). Decide on one object that you want to 'barter' for something in exchange for something from another person in your group. Think about how you would start to negotiate.  What will you decide on first - the value of your item first, or what you want?
  • Make a list of the objects that have been given and those they have been exchanged for.  Have you needed to use an 'I owe you' system as well?
Iron Age gold coin from 1st Century AD