24 of 234 days: Zinc-Copper Alloys

Bronze is Tin and Copper, Brass is Zinc and Copper. The latter is far harder to produce than the former. The foundational work on Brass in the ancient world is Craddock 1978. I’m starting here and then working forward in scholarship. The main issues are obtaining zinc and then ensuring it doesn’t burn off when the alloy is made.

Craddock didn’t know exactly where or how the technology enters the ancient world or precisely the techniques used but he makes a good case that the techniques that end up being used by the Roman might have been v similar to those used in India (see diagram below)

The question is how early was brass commonly in use, certainly by the first early century CE. It is known to Plato and other Classical writers but is considered more precious than silver because of its gold color. Even in the Roman world it was valued for this property

Notice the brass detail on this bronze lamp stand from Pompeii in the BM.

Craddock says there are Etruscan figurines of Brass that must be genuine because of style.

But I am more skeptical. I couldn’t find this statue in the BM collection (I didn’t look as hard as I could have.) But I did find another fake brass with the curator’s notes from 1990 saying with certitude that Brass wasn’t used by Etruscans in this period.

Why do I care? Well because of zinc readings from surface analyses of aes grave. Could the material be ancient? I’m leaning very strongly no, but this is just the beginning of my thinking on the matter, don’t base any arguments on this yet.

One more brass object that is suspected of being a modern imitation:

Suffice to say I leave notes in the trays when I find high zinc readings.


I got two pieces of exciting news today, I can’t share yet but both were just what I needed to hear.

Today

  • further edits/tweaks – then send off
  • Zoom on back to the 80s
  • Rutgers follow up
  • Shift Feb flights
  • Submit receipts
  • Update Rome contacts on Feb
  • April NYC event follow up email on state of logistics
  • Email Schaefer
  • START CRUNCHING DATA

Not Today (but maybe tomorrow, or the day after)

  • collect hoard data for RACOM paper
  • Teaching requests for Fall 2023
  • Set time table for any collaborative RRDP work/publication prep that needs to happen this semester: Chicago pub, INC pub, collaboration with RACOM, etc…
  • Circle back to Capito project
  • Consider ask for funding from Dean’s office
  • Begin Med school rec letter
  • record mini myth
  • find out what is on that v old harddrive and back up to cloud
  • Write up Teaching Eval
  • renew Coinarchives

RRC 16: Lion Left!

Schaefer archive

In my Satricum post I note that Termeer and Prins 2021 observed there was found:

“one Lion bronze (no. 38) with reverse lion to the left is a variety of RRC 16/1a and 1b, only known from Vicarello and Carsoli”

I made a note in my copy of RRC of the new subtype and moved on, now today while reading Catalli 2014 on the Nemi finds (scan on file), I notice that there too a lion left was listed there among “rinvenimenti soradici” stray finds from the sanctuary area.

How amazingly odd to have a sub-type that keeps turning up well provenanced, but with almost no presence in trade. Of course, Schaefer knows of one such specimen that sold in 1990, but I can find no more with a quick search of the usual databases.

RRC 16

Cut marks on Aes Grave?

This specimen of RRC 14/2 has what might be deliberate cut marks on one side.

This made me think of the chop marks found on struck coins at Satricum which I blogged about last week.

What function could they serve? Definitely not to check purity. Unlikely to be defacement for political/ideological purposes.

The specimen is from the S. Marinella Hoard (CHRR 21) discovered in 1927.

The images are from BN 13 1989 and Catalli’s republication of the hoard.

21 of 234 days: Fabatus and Cybele

Before I get to work on the boring parts of today (persuading two machines to talk to each other via some rather mediocre software), I allowed myself to browse some of my scans from the ANS yesterday. Divo 1977, the coins stolen from Naples, is just one of the goodies (need a pdf? just ask!). [NB! I keep calling this Divo 1970 by accident, no idea why. Must clean up file names etc…]

I may have found a new Fabatus control mark (RRC 412/1). My run through Crawford’s plates LXVIII and LXIX turned up no likely matches. I’ve not spotted it in the Schaefer archive either for all he’s identified dozens of control-marks not known to Crawford (you can access this through CRRO). But I’ll be honest I didn’t give it too much time as other things take priority.

Mural crown, turreted crown a common attribute of the Magna Mater, Cybele, as well as city goddesses
Head of a lion a common attribute of the Magna Mater, Cybele, and other goddesses fitting the mistress of the beasts type, other Anatolian Artemis and mother/fertility goddesses.

Today

  • follow up on scans from yesterday
  • edits/tweaks – then share
  • Princeton follow up
  • Read more on Aes Grave
  • Rutgers follow up
  • Prep PC for tomorrow
  • international UG response
  • April event logistics
  • Cancel at least one more digital membership

Not Today (but maybe tomorrow, or the day after)

  • Teaching requests for Fall 2023
  • Set time table for any collaborative RRDP work/publication prep that needs to happen this semester: Chicago pub, INC pub, collaboration with RACOM, etc…
  • Circle back to Capito project
  • Consider ask for funding from Dean’s office
  • Begin Med school rec letter
  • record mini myth
  • find out what is on that v old harddrive and back up to cloud
  • Write up Teaching Eval
  • renew Coinarchives

20 of 234 days: 5th Bull/Prow Praeneste find (?)

It’s an ANS day. I’m spending some time with the SNGs from Italian Collections this from Firenze (vol 3.) Umbria-Bruttium.

I also battled the scanning technology to make a high quality copy of the Divo, Coins Stolen from Naples (1977). I’ve been frustrated with not having it on file. But at long last I’ve a decent pdf (if you need one do ask!).

A screen shot just to give a sense of the publication. V little text almost all just photos.

I’m now scanning most of Bolletino di Numismatica 13 (1989). The images of well provenanced aes grave From the Roman National Museum Collection (Palazzo Massimo) are just delish.

Some Etruscan pieces

Ardea 1940

S. Marinella 1927

Pozzaglia 1922-1923

not only full size images but some in color and all with weights and inv. numbers!

Then this afternoon I go to pick up some metallurgical testing equipment from a colleague’s lab and then I drive home.

More tomorrow…

Satricum

Let’s get geographically oriented:

Screenshot of Google Earth project (I enjoy this type of orientation to the landscape as I try to fix in my mind where something is in relation to more familiar landmarks)
Wikimedia map of Latium (public domain)

On the Goddess of this sanctuary I’m reading:

Carroll, M. (2019). MATER MATUTA, ‘FERTILITY CULTS’ AND THE INTEGRATION OF WOMEN IN RELIGIOUS LIFE IN ITALY IN THE FOURTH TO FIRST CENTURIES BC. Papers of the British School at Rome, 87, 1-45. doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068246218000399

The article is very good at problematizing the whole ‘god of…’ approach to polytheistic religion and also has a succinct statement on syncretism with recent bibliography (for all she avoids using that term). This article will be good to circle back on when I return to either Feronia (last chapter of current book project) and/or Ino-Leukothea (esp. RRC 399/1, n.b. my glass paste article).

On page 5-6 she gives this summary of the temple chronology at Satricum:

She also has thoughts on how the cult might have re-enforced matrilineal ancestry and kinship ties, perhaps mildly relevant when discussing RRC 433/2.

This passage is interesting for HOW we interpret votive deposits, especially in terms of gender:

In this next passage I’m interested in how the transition in types of votives is ALSO generally speaking correlated to the Roman adoption of coin making. Perhaps BOTH indicative of bigger cultural shifts.

Ok. I’ve got a much better understanding of cult and the goddess so now we can get on to the coins!

Termeer, Marleen K. and Prins, Jelle. 2021. “Coins and aes rude as votive gifts : the coins and aes rude from the Hellenistic votive deposit at Satricum and the first coinage in Latium” Ancient Numismatics : an international journal 2: 43-91. DOI: 10.19272/202114401002 (paid content) Deposited unformatted final text, no images (open access)

“We argue that the long tradition of deposition of aes rude in religious contexts in Latium was continued in the period when coins were first introduced, and the coins seem to have been embedded in this tradition. Thus, the use of coins and aes rude had considerable overlap in this period.”

This sentence reminds me of the bits of Festus and Varro on a coin being used instead of rough bronze in ritual exchanges.

Raniero Mengarelli conducted excavations in 1896. I should look up his N. Scavi entries at some point. When the Dutch Institute began excavating in 1985 they found a ‘secondary’ votive dump, and thus original stratigraphy of deposition cannot be reconstructed, it is however possible some portions of the original deposit were untouched…

Votive I – LOTS of Aes Rude, no coins (assoc. archaic sacellum)

Votive II – (5-3rd cent) more aes rude, 5 coins likely deposited after 300 BCE

Votive III – 108 coins (26 from 1896, 82 from 1985, 1989) listed in appendix [but I’m still waiting for my ILL copy with the original table.]

29 total RRC 17/1 – which is now dated after 240 BCE by Molinari and Jaia 2021, ‘ do no seem to occur in Vicarello’

28 – Campanian

of which: Apollo-man-faced bull – 17 Naples, 8 ‘Campanian’, 1 Teanum, 1 Suessa

only 1 Suessa Hermes/Herakles-lion type, where are the Minerva/Cocks?! and other types?!

also on Velia coin which is real Campanian is it?!

4 – Punic

39 – so called Romano-Campanian

6 – aes grave

2 – currency bar rim fragments, I wonder how they established this identification…

15 – RR struck bronze

a plated RRC 249/1

and one RRC 340/1

Of these groups of particular note:

“one Lion bronze (no. 38) with reverse lion to the left is a variety of RRC 16/1a and 1b, only known from Vicarello and Carsoli”

Central Italy uncertain mint HNItaly 362 = Vecchi 281 (better image) (forepart of bull / lyre)

Praeneste (?) HN Italy 249 = Vecchi 281 (worse image) (frontal lion biting spear / horse head) – a fragment

“earliest coins that could have entered the votive deposit are the earliest Neapolitan bronzes from Taliercio’s series i (nos. 1-9), dated 325-300 bc, and the Punic bronzes (nos. 30-33), which are dated in the second half of the 4th century bc”

“Four of these seven Neapolitan coins (nos. 2, 5, 6 and 7) have chop marks.”

I wonder if the chop marks are a version of the same impulse seen on the graffiti-ed coins:

from Ailly reads FORTVNAI STIPE and indicates the coin was ritually deposited to the goddess. Only one parallel that I know of reads DIOVIS STIPE and was found at Collepietro (L’Aquila).
From Willers 1909
I’m grateful to Charles Parisot for sharing the modern photo and Gallica link with me via Twitter!

The photograph allows one to clearly see the reverse graffiti was created useing the same punch/chisel technique as the SF on the obverse. It is easiest to observe in the S an E of stipe.

I notice in the inventory that no. 97 is a folded coin and 96 is a melted ae/plated AR, perhaps again part of this phenomenon.

“cast aes grave (nos. 73-78), which may be a little earlier. Coins from this period, namely circa
270-240/225 bc, are the most common in the deposit” Narrow down that time frame!

“very few Roman coins from the period of the Second Punic War” – was Satricum loyal?

terminus post quem suggested by worn reduced uncial weight standard triens found in undisturbed portion of deposit : maybe c. 150 BCE or maybe later.

Points out that Vicarello seems unique in aes rude and coins being the preferred votive offering rather than those be tangential to other forms of offering.

“It is clear, however, that bronze was the preferred metal for oπering in Latium; precious metals are very rare”

“Our comparison will focus on the coins found in the votive deposits at Vicarello, Carsoli, Nemi, Via Tiberina and Casalvieri [Sora], and the Ardea hoard, which was probably part of a votive deposit or even a thesaurus.” [links are to earlier places on this blog I’ve talked about these finds]

I’ve ILLed Catalli 2005 (and his 2014 piece on the Nemi coins).

I was at this point panicking that I’d missed a currency bar hoard as I had no record of Via Tiberina, but thank goodness it just has two names! It’s La Bruna (CHRR 16), now mostly in Berlin. This just can’t be right. I’ve ILLed Cesano 1942. It’s very interesting to think of this as Stipe or Thesaurus rather than just a hoard…

“Farther from Rome, Carsoli and Satricum were indeed able to receive similarly high percentages of Romano-Campanian and Greek coins. The difference between these two and Nemi is striking, but we have no good explanation for it.”

RRC 16 (lion), RRC 17 (Minerva)

17 out of 234 days: Alba Fucens

Alba Fucens is my favorite colony. Why? It has a cheeky mountain that constantly photo bombs pictures of the site:

image source
image source

AND it struck obols and other small silver denominations. IRIS link. Past posts on obols.

Anyway this was another open tab from yesterday I wanted to close but save (epigraphy is so distracting!):

Source

Today

  • emails to mentors
  • Close tabs from yesterday’s distractions
  • proofreading
  • Read more on Aes Grave
  • Rutgers follow up
  • AUS follow up
  • Grad Student follow up

Not Today (but maybe tomorrow, or the day after)

  • Teaching requests for Fall 2023
  • Set time table for any collaborative RRDP work/publication prep that needs to happen this semester: Chicago pub, INC pub, collaboration with RACOM, etc…
  • Circle back to Capito project
  • Consider ask for funding from Dean’s office
  • Begin Med school rec letter
  • record mini myth
  • find out what is on that v old harddrive and back up to cloud
  • Write up Teaching Eval
  • Cancel at least one more digital membership
  • renew Coinarchives

Coins for Festivals

Another distraction, the most lovely Seth Bernard sent me this via twitter because of my earlier post (not yet edited but soon to be…)

CRAWFORD, Michael H. Thesauri, hoards and votive deposits In: Sanctuaires et sources: Les sources documentaires et leurs limites dans la description des lieux de culte [online]. Naples: Publications du Centre Jean Bérard, 2003 (generated 19 janvier 2023). Available on the Internet: <http://books.openedition.org/pcjb/878&gt;. ISBN: 9782918887218. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/books.pcjb.878.

It’s so good. I love coming back to read work when one is really ready for the text, even hungry to read it. So different to reading in the abstraction of possibly useful one day. Anyway on to the point.

That passage in Dionysius reminded me immediately of RRC 385/5 and the decoding of the legend to be about the foundation of the ludi Apollinares by subscription.

stips collata dei thesauro 

British Museum: 1843,0116.1117

I wrote badly about this coin and its series some time ago. Often, I like “past-me” but not in this case.

I’ve got more on this coin off blog in a draft book chapter.

16 out of 234 days: News of the Nemi photos

Turns out there are two sets of the photographs of Nemi finds taken by Lord Savile, not only the ones in the BM I’ve been trying to located but also in Nottingham. These aren’t fully digitized (yet), but the internal collections database has turned up wonderfully detailed descriptions of each print AND notes on how they correspond to photographs in the BM. So the BM photos exist clearly, and once I get the funds to go see the Nemi coins in person, I’ll also be able to study the photographs (maybe, hopefully even share them). I’ve seen one sample image and it is of high quality and the coins are legible (but only one side). I’m particularly interested that the photos seem to specify WHERE on the site the coins were found and other materials from the same find spot.

I wonder if Lord Savile kept a journal and if his personal papers are on deposit in some accessible archive…

You can get a sense of these photos from a blog post from 2013 by Pete Bounous, no coins but some low res images of votive offerings.

The 1893 catalogue of the first exhibit in Nottingham of the Nemi material is also available online. It is well illustrated for the time but alas no coin images. However, it does nicely distinguish the find spot of the aes rude from the aes grave!

p. 5

The ritual foundation deposit under the entrance fits well with other similar foundation finds.

Other things in the catalogue that charmed me was the great enthusiasm of the time for the letter forms used to spell DIANA on this bronze handle.

p.36-37

I’m also delighted with this report of a base to go with one of the small bronze statues. So often those figures are de contextualized from their original function, I find this satisfying to know of:


I’ve been overestimating what I can get done in a day. I’m going to try to put less on the today list.

Today

  • BM archivist reply
  • Review grad student apps by Jan 19
  • LETTER
  • Other email correspondence as necessary

Not Today (but maybe tomorrow, or the day after)

  • post conference Rome accommodation
  • Teaching requests for Fall 2023
  • Circle back to department about any Jan planning meetings
  • Set time table for any collaborative RRDP work/publication prep that needs to happen this semester: Chicago pub, INC pub, collaboration with RACOM, etc…
  • Circle back to Capito project
  • Consider ask for funding from Dean’s office
  • Begin Med school rec letter
  • record mini myth
  • find out what is on that v old harddrive and back up to cloud
  • Write up Teaching Eval
  • Cancel at least one more digital membership
  • renew Coinarchives

15 out of 234 days: Venusia’s weight standard

ANS Specimen acquired 1922 unknown to Haberlin

I was getting my brain warmed up trying to think of the monetary landscape in the pre 1st Punic War period. So I looked at RRC 13/1 distribution and colonization efforts again and that got me thinking what I knew about the coinage of Venusia.

Luckily “past me” had ordered Burnett 1991, so I found a pdf on file. I was interested in the idea that the fractions might be on a different weight standard than the whole unit. I’ve not looked at the fractional weights but I thought I’d see if I could re look at the data and include any specimens not known to Haeberlin (his plates). I only found one in trade and the one illustrated above in the ANS. I’ve found none in: Oxford, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, Michigan, Capitoline, IKMK (I’ve not checked my Copenhagen or Glasgow image files yet). With only 13 specimens no average or median is going to be very conclusive, but a box and whiskers gives some idea of shape of the data. A close cluster with relatively short whiskers and two extreme outliers.

243.29 ANS 1922

320.58 Paris

327.55 Naples Cat. 1.571

329.97 ANS = Weber Cat. 2.118 (purchased from D. Stilianpoulos, Smyrna, 1898)

331.1 Naples Cat. 345 (Garrucci pl.65,6)

332.28 Trade

333.59 Venosa 1903

333.69 von Bunbury

335.4 Venosa 1903

336.94 Venosa 1903

338.51 BM

339.35 Venosa 1903

356.37 Venosa 1903

I don’t know where the Hoard of 5 specimens found in 1903 and purchased by Haeberlin ended up. It is this hoard’s find location that has lead to the association of the type with the colony.

There is some relatively recent bibliography that I’d like to read on the colony:

Stek, Tesse D.. “Motivazioni e forme alternative dell’espansionismo romano repubblicano: il caso delle colonie latine nelle aree interne appenniniche.” In Paesaggi mediterranei di età romana : archeologia, tutela, comunicazione, Edited by Mastrocinque, Gianluca. Bibliotheca Archaeologica; 47, 135-146. Roma: Edipuglia, 2017.

Casarotto, Anita, Pelgrom, Jeremia and Stek, Tesse D.. “Testing settlement models in the early Roman colonial landscapes of Venusia (291 B. C.), Cosa (273 B. C.) and Aesernia (263 B. C.).” Journal of Field Archaeology 41, no. 5 (2016): 568-586. Doi: 10.1080/00934690.2016.1211474

Grelle, Francesco. “Le colonie latine e la romanizzazione della Puglia.” In Epigrafia e territorio, politica e società : temi di antichità romane. 8, Edited by Pani, Mario. Documenti e Studi; 42, 165-199. Bari: Edipuglia, 2007.

Perhaps I’ll diagram weights of the smaller denominations next…


Today

  • BM conservation reply
  • BM archivist reply
  • Cancel at least one more digital membership
  • renew Coinarchives
  • Review grad student apps by Jan 19
  • Banking documents
  • LETTER
  • Other email correspondence as necessary
  • PROOFS
  • PEER REVIEW

Not Today (but maybe tomorrow, or the day after)

  • post conference Rome accommodation
  • Teaching requests for Fall 2023
  • Circle back to department about any Jan planning meetings
  • Set time table for any collaborative RRDP work/publication prep that needs to happen this semester: Chicago pub, INC pub, collaboration with RACOM, etc…
  • Circle back to Capito project
  • Consider ask for funding from Dean’s office
  • Begin Med school rec letter
  • record mini myth
  • find out what is on that v old harddrive and back up to cloud
  • Write up Teaching Eval