Aes Rude and Aes Grave, Praeneste Finds

Two more bull/prow aes grave semisses have come to light at Praeneste in archaeological contexts and  are now on display in the museum.  This is HN Italy 359 = Vecchi 276 = Haberlin, pp. 157-158 (specimen in trade, second specimen in trade).  Thomsen ERC III: 149-150 thought these might be Roman aes grave but this has not been accepted by others.  Vecchi notes a weight range of 167.96-118.20g.

Previous finds were Praeneste prior to 1893 and the Ariccia 1848 hoard (c. 28 km SW of Praeneste, ~6 hour walk due to elevation changes).

Now with THREE pieces found at Praeneste, I think we should assume that it the place of manufacture until further evidence comes to light.

The other major thing to note is the regular use of aes rude in Funerary Contexts.  This was already observed in the 1907 excavations (see AJA 1908 summary below), but is now reconfirmed by the 2007 finds.

It seems that these aes grave may also be from funerary contexts as they were unearthed in the same Colombella excavations. – private correspondence with the excavator suggests the aes grave was NOT from a burial context.


AJA 1908 report.

Vaglieri 1907 full details.


Update 1/12/23:

Possibly relevant bibliography for such finds:

Parente, Anna Rita. “La Lucania: necropoli e monete : (V-II secolo a. C.).” In Caronte: un obolo per l’aldilà, Edited by Cantilena, Renata., 276-288. Napoli: Macchiaroli, 1995.

Presence of coins in the grave goods of Greek and indigenous Lucanian necropolises. The phenomenon is recurrent in the Greek context, where the coin placed in the tomb probably has the symbolic function of a prestigious asset, in the manner of the obeloi and the aes rude (traditionally interpreted as pre-monetary objects). In the indigenous sphere the phenomenon is very rare and perhaps limited to cases of emulation of the Greek funeral practice

4 thoughts on “Aes Rude and Aes Grave, Praeneste Finds”

Leave a Reply to An Aes Grave Hoard from Praeneste – Liv Mariah Yarrow Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s