Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Many studies of the Roman monetary economy rely heavily on one type of coin find. Hoards are most frequently employed, with only occasional reference to several prominent sites and almost no mention of ‘stray’ finds. The important role played by archaeological numismatics has been increasingly recognized by scholars and has consequently started to reshape our thinking and approach. However, studies rarely utilize the full breadth of numismatic evidence, not least because of the immense labor required to gather and analyze the data. Big data that employs all types of coin finds has the potential to reevaluate our approach and, in Britain, the Portable Antiquities Scheme has demonstrated its capability to refine our perception of coin use across a large geographic area over the longue durée. Elsewhere for numismatic based research on the Empire, such approaches have been minimal.
In this presentation I employ big data and a macro-regional perspective to assess coin finds from the Rhine frontier in order to reconsider the impact and role of the military on the development of monetary economy during the first two centuries. An often argued and imposed connection between Roman conquest and immediate and widespread coin adoption and monetization is challenged.