Ранните монети в голямото сребърно съкровище от Сердика

The early coins of the large silver hoard from Serdica

  • Dochka Vladimirova-Aladzhova National Institute of Archaeology with Museum Bulgarian Academy of Sciences


In 2015, a large coin hoard was discovered during regular archaeological research of Saint Nedelya – North Site. It is composed of 2982 silver and 5 bronze coins laid in a ceramic pot covered with red varnish and bearing the name of Selvius Kalist scratched in Greek, most probably the owner of the wealth. The coins are dating from the 2nd c. BC – AD 3rd c.
The find from Sveta Nedelya relates to the mixed type hoards and comprises three groups of coins – Roman Republican and Imperial denarii, and bronze provincial coins of the smallest denomination. The latter distinguish the hoard in question from the ones discovered so far in Bulgaria.
The work here presented discusses the earliest coins in the hoard – the Roman Republican denarii, the Imperial denarii of the Julio – Claudian dynasty (27 BC – AD 68), and the year of the four emperors (68 – 69) to Emperor Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty (69 – 96).
Six Republican denarii are chronologically the earliest of all, bearing the names of the monetary magistrates L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus and Q. Servilius Caepio (100 BC), L. Marcivs Philipvs, P. Clodius M.f. Turrinus, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and those of the Roman Empire belong to 18 emperors, 2 caesars and 10 empresses as the smallest being the number of pieces of Julio – Claudian dynasty and the pieces from the time of Nerva – Antoninus are the most numerous. The denarii from the time of the Severan dynasty are the latest in date.
The archaeological research carried out in 2015 – 2018 east of Sveta Nedelya Square covered the terrain explored in 1950ies through rescue excavations. According to the latest results and their interpretation, the initial plan of the revealed building included chain-arranged premises from the east, roughly square in plan and similar in dimensions as all of them have broad entrances from the east. The premises have no connection with each other, as well as with the large premises developed west of them. The premises have no connection with each other, as well as with the large premises developed west of them. The premises have no connection with each other, as well as with the large premises developed west of them. Judging from the archaeological finds, in the first half of the 3rd c. they were employed as shops, workshops, pubs, etc. The northern end of the building is covered with a large hall basilical in plan (premises N 6); the data of its architectural shape show that in the 2nd – 3rd c. it had public functions.
The eastern premises of building VI explored in 2015 – 2018 are completely analogous to the new excavations and show that in the 2nd – 3rd c. this sector of the town was center of trade and craft production. After the mid 3rd c. building VI underwent significant reconstructions that did not change its plan but rather the functions of the premises. The reason for this is probably a cataclysm experienced, as evidenced by the preserved levels of the floor with traces of fire. These circumstances are directly related to the discovery of the coin hoard in the large building VI, in premises N 1, on whose northern wall, in a recessed niche, the pot with Roman coins was found.
The archeological data of the terrain and the analysis of the hoard give reason to suppose that it was concealed by its owner at the last reconstruction of the premises. The likely reason for the coin hiding is the third-century inflation and the depreciation of silver, circumstances that forced the owner to put them in a ceramic pot and hide in a specially prepared hiding place in one of the commercial premises, which may have been owned or controlled by him. Unfortunately, some fatal events prevented him from taking back the hidden wealth, and so it reaches the present day.

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