Tracing Networks

Craft Traditions in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond

Mint condition: coinage and the development of technological, economic and social networks in the Mediterranean and beyond

Colin Haselgrove, Leo Webley, Stefan Krmnicek*

Few would disagree that the adoption of coinage in Asia Minor in the 7th century BCE and its rapid uptake by other Mediterranean societies and their neighbours to reach southern Britain by 200 BCE was one of the most significant innovations of the first millennium BC. The minting of standardised metal objects bearing culturally specific designs and carrying inscriptions provided communities with a powerful new means of meeting social obligations, facilitating exchange, storing wealth, expressing their identity, and projecting political authority. By its nature, the diffusion, copying and consumption of coinage is ideally suited to tracing the networks that existed within and between communities, but there has never been an overarching study of how over 500 years, the concept and technology of coinage was transmitted and elaborated through the Greek, Italian, Phoenician, Iberian and Celtic worlds, or how its technical and symbolic dimensions were transformed by the successive encounters with different ideologies, value systems and non-monetary currencies. Understanding this process can only be achieved by examining the technologies and designs used on different coinages (and other materials), and the contexts in which they were used. This will be undertaken by analysing and comparing a series of case studies from across the relevant regions and chosen for the quality of available data. This project has close links to those of Foxhall, van Dommelen and Harding.

Linked to the project, a workshop on The Archaeology of Money will be held on 17th-18th October 2013 at the Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Universität Tübingen, Germany. This international workshop aims to discuss the archaeology of money in a comprehensive global and diachronic approach from European prehistory to 20th century ethnographies. It will bring together scholars from different academic backgrounds and research traditions to discuss new perspectives for understanding the meaning of money and the complexity of functions that monetary objects perform.

*From 2012 associated with the project in an honorary capacity

Mint condition