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Multivariate Money: A statistical analysis of Roman Republican coin hoards with special reference to material from Romania

By K. Lockyear


The aim of this thesis is assess the usefulness of the statistical analysis of coin hoards for the examination of aspects of ancient societies including coin use and exchange. Special attention was paid to various aspects of ‘formation processes.’ The thesis was divided into three parts. Part I — Background. This Part initially reviews the history of the project and then goes on to examine the concept of money in the light of anthropological and economic work. A brief discussion of types of exchange (gift, barter, commodity exchange) in societies is offered. The Part is concluded with a review of previous statistical analyses of coin assemblages. Part II—Analysing Hoards A large database of Roman Republican coin hoards was collected for this project. The problems with this type of data, its storage and retrieval are discussed. The database is then analysed in great detail in order to answer a series of numismatic, archaeological and statistical questions. Correspondence analysis was used on twenty-two subsets of the data to reveal patterning in the data-set which is discussed. A new variant of cluster analysis was developed to subdivide the data set whilst minimising the time series element. The results are compared to principal coordinates and detrended correspondence analyses. The analyses reveal aspects of the use and supply of Roman coinage over Europe and show clearly the unique nature of the Romanian data. An attempt is made to estimate the speed of circulation of coin in Italy. It is shown that the nature of coin supply leads to variation between periods which is the result of simple probability and sampling theory, not changes in the speed of circulation of coin as has been suggested by other authors. Simulation studies are used to examine the validity of estimates of coin production and annual coin loss. The results are summarised. The usefulness of the techniques used is discussed. In the light of the formation processes examined, the patterns in coin hoard data are tentatively interpreted. Part III — Romania. It is argued that to attempt a detailed interpretation of the patterns revealed above the material must be seen in its archaeological context. This case study is offered as one such attempt. Romania was chosen for two reasons: 1) the exceptional quantity of hoards found in an area outside Roman control; 2) the unique evidence for the copying of coins. After reviewing various aspects of Romanian archaeology, a detailed analysis of the problem of copies is offered including the results of a large scale archaeometallurgical study conducted under the direction of the author. Estimates of the quantities of coins copied are given. A brief review of the settlement evidence in the counties of Sibiu, Alba and Hunedoara, of special settlement and structure types, and of hoards of silverware is presented. The thesis concludes by discussing the nature of Dacian society and its use of coin in the light of the theoretical discussions in Part I, the evidence for coin supply discussed in Part II and the results of the analyses in Part III in the context of the wider archaeological evidence

Publisher: University of London
Year: 1996
OAI identifier:
Provided by: UCL Discovery

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