70 out of 234 days: Conana coin from an unusual Sagalassos grave

Image from a LiveScience article “Roman-era tomb scattered with magical ‘dead nails’ and sealed off to shield the living from the ‘restless dead'” By Kristina Killgrove

With the help of Bill Dazell’s keen eyes on the reverse legend, the coin can be identified as from Conana (RPC IV.3, 7753 (temporary), cf. 7752 as well). Conana is associated with modern Gönen, north of Isparta in mod. Türkiye.

The issuing mint is thus 30 kms north of the find spot at Sagalassos.

Not far in modern terms but a good two days on foot if not more for most ancient travellers. One day at fast march or by horse. Easy enough to carry a coin that distance.

Coins in graves “to pay Charon, the ferryman to the land of the dead” is commonly discussed casually in popular conceptions of the ancient world, but it is not clear to me how common there occurrences are in archaelogical finds. It’s a topic I often get asked about but don’t have a firm answer. I often point to aes rude finds common in the graves at the necropolis at Praeneste, and a few late antique northern grave finds with coins are known to me. The magical quality of this grave makes me pause before including it as evidence of this practice.

Anyway, if you have an PR article on the topic or just other firm examples of single coins in graves, I’d love to know.

Specimen was first published here: Stroobants et al. 2019. Journal of Archaeological Numismatics, 9: 475–96.

Publication of the grave here: Claeys, J., Van de Vijver, K., Marinova, E., Cleymans, S., Degryse, P., & Poblome, J. (2023). Magical practices? A non-normative Roman imperial cremation at Sagalassos. Antiquity, 97(391), 158-175. doi:10.15184/aqy.2022.171

Non coin portion.

Today’s work must start with the external review and museum exhibit proofs. If anything else gets done it should be on the communications/logistics front, esp. figuring out first smelting attempt and whether I’m really bringing whole family to Berlin and if so for how long. Yesterday turned out to be all about RRDP future logististics and lets just say I’m excited the direction things seem to be moving, as well as other related collaborations. It did wonders for my mood and motivation.

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