Римски монети от проучването на Тримамиум (І-ІІІ век)

Roman coins from Trimamium (AD 1st -3rd c.)

  • Varbin Varbanov Regional History Museum Russe, 3 A. Batanberg Sq., 7000 Russe


During the rescue archaeological excavations on the territory of Trimammium in 2006 – 2009 about 260 sq. m were explored. Structures and traces of habitation from the Roman, Late Roman and Late Antiquity Ages (2nd – 6th c.) were revealed as well as from the period of the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms. The purpose of the work here presented is to release the coins from the Roman Age (1st – 3rd c.). They are 204 or 43,58% out of 468 pieces in total found there (fig. 1).

The earliest coin is a badly worn out republican denarius from the second half of the 1st ВС (Cat. N 1). So far coins from the 1st c. have not been discovered, and the pieces from the 2nd c. are 10 in number (Cat. NN 2-11) as most of them were in circulation for a long time. Of the remaining pieces, 32 are from the first (Cat. NN 12-43) and 161 are antoninians from the second half of the 3rd c. (78,9% – Cat. NN 44-203). Only 6 coins are silver – four denarii, a drachm and an antoninian (2,9% – Cat. NN 1, 4-5, 11 and 37). The central bronze emissions are six worn out asses/ dupondius (2,9% – Cat. NN 2-3, 6-9). The provincial bronze coins are 31 (15,19%) as 19 of them belong to the fourth and fifth nominal values and the rest – to the first nominal. The mint yards of Nicopolis ad Istrum – 11 pieces (Cat. NN 14, 16-18, 21, 23, 25, 28-29, 33-34); Marcianopolis – 5 pieces (Cat. NN 12-13, 24, 30-31); Viminacium – 2 pieces (Cat. NN 32, 36); Hadrianopolis – 2 pieces (Cat. NN 22, 26); Philippopolis – 1 piece (Cat. N 10) are presented; for 10 coins the mint remains unclear (Cat. NN 15, 19, 20, 27, 38-43).

Six of the coins of small denominations arouse interest as they display a low and rounded relief mostly with a sharp gurth. They are cast imitations and belong to the type so-called “limesfalsa” ( Cat. N N 19-20, 3 8-41). The circulation of similar coins in Moesia Inferior is a fact although there are yet a few of them published. For this reason it seems too early to make conclusions concerning their role within the circulation flow over the Bulgarian territories during the Roman Age.

The presence of still another type of imitations of antoninians known as barbarous radiate is also of particular interest (Cat. NN 58-60, 64, 89, 92-93, 95-99, 100-104, 193-194 and 196)). So far they have been a subject of vague discussion in Bulgarian bibliography. A coin of this kind has been found during the research in Sexaginta Prista. In Trimammium 20 coins of the type have been discovered as 14 of them come from Pit 4 and one piece – from Pit 5. Most probably they were brought to the fortress by a soldier who belonged or served in the Western Roman provinces.

The coin complexes published in Bulgaria are often presented summarized by rulers or periods and without correlation with the stratigraphy and the other artifacts from the particular archaeological site. This circumstance leads to inaccurate conclusions on the dates and phases of habitation of the site.

According to the context of their provenance, the Roman coins from Trimammium (2nd – 3rd c.) can be divided into several groups. 96 of them come from certainly proven Roman layers. Out of them only one denarius of Traianus (Cat. N 4) can be related to the time of the earlier Building E its working date being within the limits of the 1st – 2nd c. Another 19 pieces come from and date the layers to the 3rd c. as most of them are from the second half of the century (fig. 3). 76 coins were found in intact complexes. Two of the pits (NN 1-2) cointained one bronze coin each belonging to Septimius Severus (Cat. NN 16-17). Pit N 3 contained five coins dating it to the late 3rd c. (Cat. NN 36, 43, 83, 156, 174). Probably all the three pits had a household functions (Върбанов 2008, 102-118). Pit N 4 produced 39 antoninians from the time of Galienus to Diocletian (Cat. Nn 45-46, 48, 50-51, 58, 62, 64-66, 68-69, 72-73, 79, 81-82, 85-86, 89-90, 92-93, 96-99, 101-104, 107, 120, 125, 132, 153, 159, 187, 199). The upper part of the pit was destroyed by a lime kiln in the Late Antique Age containing 9 coins. Two of them were found just above the Roman pit and probably belong to it (they are close in technical features – Ca. NN 77-78). Pit 5 was damaged by a later pit from the 5th c.; however, its preserved sector contained 11 antoninians from Galienus to Probus (276-282; Cat. NN 47, 49, 91, 100, 111, 123, 128, 142, 158, 163, 172). Still another 19 antoninians from Aliens to Carus were discovered within the soil filling the hypocaust of a building (Cat. NN 54, 71, 75, 115, 117, 119, 124, 130, 138, 145-146, 151-152, 164, 167, 170-171, 177, 179). At this stage of the study the last three coin complexes are interpreted as votive deposits.

Still another 42 coins (30 antoninians) were found within the context of buildings and layers from the period of the 4th – 6th c. Most of them got there accidentally, probably in the course of construction and repair works (fig. 4). Another 27 pieces come from intact complexes – pits and a lime kiln. The pit in quadrant 11 is the earliest in date, containing 12 coins from the 3rd c. and 3 – from the early 4th c. (Cat. NN 29, 35, 37, 88, 105, 149, 161-162, 200-203). Another pit was located inside Building A thus marking its temporary abandonment in ca. mid 5th c. Only two of the coins this pit contained are from the 3rd c. (Cat. NN 176, 195). The lime kiln was also inside the Building A marking its repair in the 6th c. and containing 9 coins from the 3rd c. (Cat. Nn 23-24, 31-32, 77-78, 84, 184, 196). Still another 4 pieces were found in the Late Antiquity pits (Cat. NN 15, 147, 190, 204).

The Medieval layers and structures produced 32 of the coins in discussion (26 antoninians – fig. 5). Probably they fell there during some digging and construction activities. Only four of them were found in pits (Cat. NN 144, 154, 178, 186).

The last to come is a group of seven coins discovered in treasure hunters’ diggings or within the surface layers of the explored area (fig. 5 – Cat. NN 7-8, 18, 44, 121, 150, 191). Probably they got there as a result of works in modern time.

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