Nicholas Borek | Projekt | Vita 


From Weighing Metals to Counting Coins: The Use of Coinage in the Western Mediterranean, c.550-300 BCE

Archaeology of Coinage, Money and the Economy
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Fleur Kemmers

This PhD project investigates the production and use of coinage in the Western Mediterranean during the Archaic and Classical periods (c.550-300 BCE). It was created under the supervision of Dr. Fleur Kemmers for another research training group at Goethe-Universität, Münzen und die Dynamik der Macht: Der westliche Mittelmeerraum 500-100 v. Chr. The aim of the research group is to study changing patterns in the adoption and use of coinage in the region before a unified currency system was imposed by the Romans (c.100 BCE). This project covers the introduction of coinage into Southern Italy (c.550-500 BCE) as well as its spread to Greek and non-Greek cities of Sicily, North Africa, Spain, and France. Since it also addresses many of the themes explored in Wert und Äquivalent: Über Entstehung und Umwandlung von Werten aus archäologischer und ethnologischer Sicht, it was added to this research training group.

The goal of this project is to understand the transition from weighing metals to counting coins with a special emphasis on the concepts of trust and value. It argues that the invention of coinage did not entirely obviate the need for weighing, but that the practice of counting coins developed over time in the Western Mediterranean. The custom of weighing only gave way to counting coins as trust developed for the issuing authority as well as the value of coinage in an expanding system of monetary exchange. In order to validate this hypothesis, the objective is to identify ways of tracking this change using both qualitative and quantitative methods. For this reason, it incorporates traditional sources of evidence (archaeological, literary, numismatic) with modern research tools and theory. This interdisciplinary approach not only aligns with the methods employed by both research groups but also attempts to establish a new paradigm of theoretical and practical research for the field of numismatics.