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Denderah: a coin hoard

At Denderah Petrie found several coins hoards, all datable to the late Roman and Byzantine Periods. For one of the hoards Petrie describes (Petrie 1900a: 36): 'buried in rouleaux between the bricks of the floor of a Roman house at the back of the temple'

The two other coins hoards he recorded as follows: 'two other lots of later coins were found in small jars. They were washed and classified as far as could be while I was at Denderah'.

The description by Petrie for the first hoard suggests that they might have been deposited in unstable times to be collected later by the owner. The coins are mostly minted in Alexandria, but some were issued at Carthage, demonstrating a wide range of trade relations in the Byzantine Period. One of the two hoards found in small jars is illustrated below. The latest dated coins in this hoard indicate that it must have been buried at a time, for which several attacks by the Nubian desert tribe called the Blemmyes are attested. Appion, the bishop of Syene (Aswan), describes in a letter to the emperors Theodosius II and Valentian III (about 425-450): 'since I find myself with my churches in the midst of these merciless barbarians, between Blemmyes and the Anoubades, we suffer many attacks from them, coming upon us as if from nowhere with no soldiers to protect our places'.

The coin hoard in the Petrie Museum

coins of the first half of the fourth century AD
coins of the second half of the fourth century AD and the fifth century AD.


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