Coin Hoards and Coin Types from 2nd – 1st Century BC in Haskovo Region
Keywords:Coin hoards, Coin Circulation, Imitations, Southeast Thrace, Late Hellenistic Era
The study presents the main coin types which circulated in the present territory of Haskovo region in the 2–1 century BC, based on the hitherto known numismatic material. Emblematic hoards kept in RMH-Haskovo coin collection have been analysed, as well as finds kept in other museums in Haskovo region, all processed de visu. An attempt has been made to place them on the map in order to show the relationship between the various coinages and to outline the general picture of their distribution.
Haskovo region occupies only 5% of the territory of Bulgaria, but for the period in study, there are 18 coin hoards, 5 of which homogeneous and 13 mixed. They can be systematized into four groups, depending on the ratio of the coins type in them, according to the classification of I. Prokopov. The first group includes finds with no new coin types, compared to the previous period. These are the finds from Beli dol-1966, Ivaylovgrad municipality (IGCH 889) and Levka-1973, Svilengrad municipality (СН I 92; CH VI 49), in which the tetradrachms with the name of Alexander III dominate. The increased number of hoards from the second group is associated with the growing insecurity in the region, and the Roman pressure to overtake Thrace: Mezek-1978 (СН VII 126), Dimitrovche-966, Momkovo-2003, Sladun-1969, Svilengrad-1986, Merichleri I-1909 (IGCH 908), Merichleri II-1909 (IGCH 909), Chernokonevo, Biser-1967, Biser-1980, Gorno Pole-1958, (IGCH 910), Haskovo region-1975 (CH VI 44), Haskovo region-1999. They are dominated by the tetradrachms of Thasos, Maroneia, the First Macedonian Region, Athens’ “New Style”, Aesilas the Quaestor, drachmas of the Adriatic cities of Apollonia, and Dyrrachium.
The hoards from the third group are dominated by Thasian imitations, what distinguishes them significantly compared to the general picture in the rest of the Thracian lands, where the Roman denarii prevail. The group includes three hoards: Sarnitsa-1958, Dolno Botevo, (CH VI 48) and Georgi Dobrevo-2000 (СН Х 165). The latter was discovered during rescue archaeological excavations carried out in relation to the widening of the Maritza highway at the site Dana Bunar-I. Homogeneous hoards from group IV, only of Roman republican denarii have not been registered yet in the Haskovo region. There are only three coins from the RMH-Haskovo depots, found in the area of the village of Borislavtsi, which are supposed to be part of a larger find.
The o of the finds with late Hellenistic issues outlines several main coin types, as shown on the map. The number of Thasian tetradrachms and Thasos-type tetradrachms is impressive. Together with their imitations, they build almost three-quarters of the recorded finds. Next are the tetradrachms of Messambria with the name of Alexander, the Lysimachus’ type tetradrachms of Byzantium, Maroneia, and the First Macedonian Region. The drachms of Alexander III and the Stephanophoric tetradrachms of Athens, of Aesillas Quaestor, as well as Roman republican denarii are relatively modest. Other Hellenistic silver coins are also found in mixed hoards – often as single pieces, with no significant influence in the circulation. Such are the tetradrachms of the last Macedonian king Perseus, the Pontic ruler Mithridates VI, the Thracian king Mostis, the cities of Abydos, Tenedos, Ilion, etc.
The analysis of the distribution of the coin finds outlines concentrations in three main zones: nearly two-thirds are registered in the territory between the Maritsa River and the Tundzha River. The second zone is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, along the valley of the Arda River, on places with difficult access and good visibility and near many traces of ancient gold, silver, and lead mines. The third zone is in the immediate vicinity of the Maritsa River, in the area of the Merichleri mineral spring.