Монети от обект „Дворцов център – изток “ в Плиска

Coins from Palace Centre – East site in Pliska

  • Valeri Grigorov Department of Medieval Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia


The work presents 47 coins discovered during the period of 2011 – 2014 at the Palace Centre – East site in Pliska. The numismatic collection contains mainly anonymous Byzantine folles: three pieces of class A I (970-976) (Cat. NN 4-6); 26 pieces of class A 2 (976-1030/35) (Cat. NN 7-33); 10 pieces of class B (1030/35-1045) (Cat. NN 36-45); and one piece of class D (1050-1060) (Cat. N 46). Two Roman coins were also found at the site – one of Leo VI (886-912) (Cat. N 3) and a fourré of Basil II (976-1025) (Cat. N 34) as well as an akçe of Selim II (1512-1520) (Cat. N 47). Thirteen of the coins were found inside dug-out structures, and the rest of them appeared within various stratigraphic layers between the residential spaces.

The archaeological study of the coins from the Palace Centre – East site involves all planigraphic, stratigraphic and quantitative analysis of the artifacts as well as laboratory analysis of particular coins. The stratigraphic coordination of the coins has allowed us to distinguish three time horizons (fig. 3). The first horizon produced one coin of Leo VI (886-912) (Cat. N 3). The second time horizon begins from the level of the first registration of anonymous Byzantine folles of class A 2. The following chronological limit marks the level of the folles of class B. The upper chronological limit of the site terminates in the anonymous Byzantine folles of class D. The chronological distribution of the various versions of folles class A 2 has been also traced (Pl. 1). Further on some intriguing examples among the coins have been considered. One of them is a cast imitation of a follis class A 2 (Cat. 7). Still another case presents two coins stacked to each other as one of them displays traces of textile (fig. 4).

One of the most interesting finds is a fourré (fig. 5), a nomisma – tetarteron of Basil II (976-1025), Constantinople, type F (1005-1025). A

chemical – technological study of the metal shows that the coin has been made of a copper-tin core with a silver-tin intermediate layer applied thereto and finally gilded. Sometime later the coin was secondary pierced and probably served as a medallion.

The stratigraphic analysis of the coins and their correlation with the cultural layers gives us grounds to clarify the dynamics of accumulation of cultural deposits. It was different. The rate of accumulation of the cultural layer within the earlier horizon was about 2-3 mm per year. Within the second horizon the accumulation was running about 5 mm per year, and within the third horizon – 9 mm per year. Determination of the step of growth of the cultural layers is among the major innovations in the application of the stratigraphic method which extends the possibilities for more precise micro-stratigraphic dating.

Data from the surveyed sector confirmes that the regular occurrence of coins in Pliska began in the final third of the 10th c. The appearance of anonymous folles and amphora fragments marks stratigraphically the beginning of the Byzantine presence. We can relate the discovered Roman coins and single Late Antiquity artifacts also to the Byzantine period in Pliska.

The cases of badly worn out coins sometimes even damaged, with broken peripheries as well as the overstrucked coins indicate a long-term use of some of the pieces. It refers mainly to the folles of class A 1 and A 2, while the folles of class B and D are much better preserved for perhaps being shortly in circulation. The number of coins coming from the stratigraphic levels from the first half of the 11th c. is the greatest, showing a well expressed peak about 1040s (fig. 6). At the same time we register also a sharp increase in the amount of amphorae. The growth of artifacts is probably due to the massive Pechenegs’ raids during 1030s and 1040s and the concentration of Byzantine military units and administration at that time in Pliska.

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