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Ionia Electrum Plain 1/24 Stater 650 BC To 600 BC, And The Temple Of Artemis


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Here's one of my favorite ancient coins, in my collection. In a sense, this is one of the first coins ever made, depending on how you define "coin". After much searching and waiting, I finally acquired this coin last year. When I acquired this coin, it was in an NGC Ancients slab. This year, I finally freed the coin from the slab.
The earliest known hoard of ancient Greek coins, the "Artemision hoard", contained coins of this type, as well as other coin types : plain pieces of silver, plain pieces of electrum, plain electrum "coins" with a punch mark on 1 side (my "coin" is of this type), electrum "coins" with stripes on 1 side and a punch mark on the other side, electrum coins with animals and other designs on a striped background and a punch mark on the other side, and electrum coins with animals and other designs on a plain background and a punch mark on the other side ("Coinage In The Greek World" by Carradice and Price, page 24). The Artemision hoard is important, because the hoard was found among various artifacts, which allowed archeologists to date the coins to 600 BC or earlier.
The Artemision hoard was found at the site of the ancient Temple Of Artemis, in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, in what is now western Turkey. Artemis was the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, nature, vegetation, childbirth, care of children, and chastity. The final version of the Temple Of Artemis, whose construction began in 323 BC and continued for many years afterwards, was gigantic. It was 1 of the 7 Wonders Of The Ancient World. It was 450 feet long, 225 feet wide, and 60 feet high. Much larger than an American football field. This temple stood until 262 AD.
However, this was only the most recent, of a series of temples built on the site. There is archeological evidence of a temple at the site, which was built in 750 BC to 700 BC. There may have been, even earlier temples, at the site. Callimachus, an ancient Greek scholar, believed that the 1st temple at the site, was built by the Amazons, the mythical society of warrior women. However, Pausanias, a later ancient Greek geographer, believed that the 1st temple at the site, was built before the Amazons.
I also think it's interesting, that this coin was minted, when the 1st Temple in Jerusalem, which was said to contain the Ark Of The Covenant, still existed. The 1st Temple in Jerusalem was said to have been destroyed in 587 BC.
A very good reference, for the Artemision hoard, is the paper "Excavations At Ephesus : The Archaic Artemisia" by Hogarth. This paper has photographs, and weights, of many of the coins, which were found in the Artemision hoard. I was able to find this paper, on the internet.
Another good reference, is the following : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis
If you have any early ancient Greek electrum coins, which you feel like showing, or any information about early ancient Greek electrum coins, or any information about the Temple Of Artemis, or any information about the previous temples at the site, then I would be interested to see it.

Ionia EL 1/24 Stater. 650 BC To 600 BC. Uncertain Mint. SNG Kayhan 678. Hogarth 6. Diameter 6.0 mm. Weight 0.59 grams. Obverse : Plain. Reverse : Square Incuse Punch.

Edited by sand
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@sandThat's a great photo of the incuse!

Re more information, the Wikipedia article  touches on it, but the 2nd temple's foundation area was absolutely key to figuring out dating and also progression from lumps of metal  into coins (as defined by  "type".) The British Museum led the main work,  just before the first world war, where they found 93 electrum coins  in and around the Central Basis which lay right beneath the  reconstructed Artemision (the one  Croesus  helped fund.) Those coins were among the 1000 objects that the wikipedia article  mentions which together dated the site to no later than the early 6th century. (always arguments here but...)

91 of the coins were Milesian/Lyidian standard of various fractions of a stater and 2 had seal heads likely from Phocaea.


I think the key though re your question was some were  not strictly "coins" as 2 were lumps but weighing as relevant  stater fractions, 3  had an incuse  punch (like yours) and 4 were like the 3 above but  had striated fairly parallel lines. So unless somehow the 2 lumps were blanks  ready for striking (why bury them?) the site was a fantastic  microcosm of the development of coinage. One reason the 2 lumps were likely currency, not blanks  is a lot of the finds were  placed  between stones  of the Basis. Btw 19 of the coins were found  in a pot!

Re  more information Hogarth  is definitely the man! and   Head's  work in chapter 5  in particular (he has slightly fewer coins as  excavations  were ongoing.)  The other  good one  is Robinson who  took  Hogarth's work and analysed it from a  point of  view of chronology and coin  development. (JHS 1951).


This is the closest truly ancient electrum I've got  coinwise, a tiny  bit later than yours, earliest 610,  probably a little later, from nearby Sardis. This is purely  my speculation but the sheer number of countermarks suggests to me that  this was so early in the process of actual  coinage that it was endlessly tested.


610-585BC Electrum trite (1/3 stater), 4.70 g, 12 mm. Uninscribed issue likely of Sardes.
Obv. Head of roaring lion left, “sun disk” on forehead. Rev. Incuse punch with two sections.
Linzalone, LN1090; Weidauer Group XVI, 89; Kurth, G24-G27.





Edited by Deinomenid
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Thanks @tartanhill.

@I_v_a_n Thanks for the recommendation. I'm not a member of Academia.edu, therefore I haven't downloaded or viewed the paper. I thought about joining Academia.edu, but I did some research about Academia.edu, which convinced me not to join.

@Deinomenid Thanks for the interesting information. That's a nice looking electrum coin you have, with the lion's head on the obverse. I've always liked that coin type. I've never seen an electrum coin, with so many countermarks. It certainly looks like your coin was used, many times. It makes one wonder, where the coin has been, and who were the people who handled it. Even though the coin has obviously circulated a lot, the lion's head still looks good and clear. And, it's one of the larger early electrum denominations.

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@sand I've downloaded lots of very helpful articles  from academia  without  problems.  The only  downside as a casual user  is they send you occasional emails saying "Are you the (your name here) cited in the Journal of XYZology" and recommend articles based on what you read. 

Most of the criticisms of  it are

1) Because it's a fee-seeking website, (and there are now good free similar sites)  but  it's almost painless to use.

2) Because frustrated academics or  poor quality material producers can post with impunity and there are ways of  manipulating your reader numbers .

but  both are easily navigated or irrelevant for you or me.

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