« Big is beautiful » ? Faut-il VRAIMENT étudier les « mégadépôts » monétaires ?
Are thorough studies of monetary ‘mega-hoards’ scientifically and economically profitable? After defining the differences between ‘large treasures’ and statistically ‘normal’ ones one may wonder what the study of these finds, a thing which is often cumbersome, actually brings to the world of numismatics. Their internal structures often differ little from that of smaller deposits. Moreover, they do not appear to bring any more interesting/ rarer-types than smaller finds, nor scattered individual coins from archaeological sites. Their interest lies elsewhere. Larger hoards can contribute to metrological studies, on the origin of the metals and the composition of the alloys used. One must ask the question on the identity (or identities) of the original owners and on the purpose for such an accumulation of coins. A hypothesis of ‘speculative manipulation’ of money can be put forward. Indeed, a mapping of the ‘mega-hoards’ of Late Antiquity clearly demonstrates that a trade of currencies existed by sea. Given the costs, both human and financial, of the studies of these large hoards and the future development of imaging and management of hoards on a large scale, it seems perhaps more appropriate to focus on specific issues; international cooperation within the framework of such hoards should be advanced in order to conserve a consistent approach to their study.
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Jean-Marc Doyen, "« Big is beautiful » ? Faut-il VRAIMENT étudier les « mégadépôts » monétaires ?", in: Bruno Callegher (Edited by), “Too Big to Study? Troppo grandi da studiare?”, Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2019, pp. 305-321
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