16 June 2010


As in past years, we're finding a good number of coins again this year, exclusively Roman bronze issues so far. Coins are always fun to find, but yesterday we came upon a pair of coins in a "good" stratum, that is, a stratum of soil that lies below the plough zone and which we can place in relationship to other layers and structures on the site (like a wall or floor, or another stratum of soil). This means a lot more to archaeologists than how well preserved the coins are, because it allows us to use the coins to say something about the history of the site, instead of only admiring them for how nice they look (which is also enjoyable).

What was interesting about these two coins is not only that they were found close to one another (about 20 cm apart), but also that they date to approximately the same time (AD 230s and 240s) and that the later one is in remarkably good condition, so little worn that it could not have been in active circulation for very long.

It's a sestertius of Phillip "the Arab," emperor of Rome in the 240s, who was lucky enough to celebrate the 1000th birthday of the city (21 April 248). Here's an image, which is not as sharp as it might be, but which still shows amazing detail in the hair and eyes. You can perhaps read the inscription, which runs from about 7 o'clock, around over his head clockwise: "IMP M IUL PHILIPPUS AUG."

1 comment:

Christine M. said...