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Treasure-Trove: Numismatics and the Archaeology of Money
ARHA 382
Fall 2018
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: ARCP 382

In many parts of the world, lost coins numbering in the millions lie buried in the ground. Periodically, some of these coins come to light in the course of plowing, digging to repair a water main, or prospecting with metal detectors. These "treasure-trove" finds-also known as coin hoards-provide the archaeologist of money with rich evidence of how money was actually used in pre-modern times. Which coins occur together in a hoard; the numbers in which they occur, and the spatial patterning of their findspots all speak volumes about pre-modern economies, circulation patterns, and beliefs about money and value. In this seminar, we explore the evidence of coins and coin hoards, studying them from numismatic perspectives (the images and legends on a given coin type, metals used, weights, fabric), metrological and denominational perspectives (what coins reveal about systems of weights and denominational structures), and statistical approaches (for example, studying patterns of weight loss as indicators of the velocity of circulation and degree of monetization in a given society). The course focuses primarily on a series of case studies and hands-on, in-class lab sessions based on actual numismatic materials, primarily drawn from ancient and medieval South Asia, and classical Greece and Rome. Specialized techniques introduced may include XRF (X-ray fluorescence) as a means of studying the metallurgical contents of coins; students will also be introduced to the Deccan Coin Hoards GIS database and its potential for spatial and statistical analysis of patterns of money use.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ART
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARCP-MN)(ARCP)(ARHA)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on OCT-21-2021
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