Archaeologists discover a stash of 1,400-year-old copper coins at a site in Russia’s ancient Greek city

Archaeologists discover rare stash of 1,400-year-old copper coins in Phanagoria, an ancient Greek city in Russia, with experts believing the stash was hidden prior to the Huns or Turks’ devastating attack

  • Archaeologists have found 6th-century copper coins in Phanagoria, an ancient Greek city
  • 80 copper staters were found in the remains of a fire that may have destroyed part of the city
  • The fire may have started from the attacks orchestrated by the Huns or Turks
  • The coins probably came from the Bosporan kingdom; the last coin came in 341 AD

Archaeologists have discovered a horde of sixth-century copper coins in Phanagoria, an ancient Greek city in present-day southwestern Russia.

According to a translated statement from the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 80 copper staters were found in the remains of a 6th-century fire.

Archaeologists have found 6th-century copper coins in Phanagoria, an ancient Greek city in southwestern Russia

80 copper staters were found in the remains of a fire that may have destroyed part of the city.  The fire may have started from the attacks orchestrated by the Huns or Turks

80 copper staters were found in the remains of a fire that may have destroyed part of the city. The fire may have started from the attacks orchestrated by the Huns or Turks

Experts believe the fire destroyed a “considerable part of the city” and may be the result of attacks orchestrated by the Huns or the Turks.

‘to estimate’ [like this] are not often found,” said Vladimir Kuznetsov, head of the archaeological expedition of Phanagoria of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the pronunciation.

“As a rule, they are evidence of catastrophic events in people’s lives, which prevented those who hid money or valuables from returning and using their savings.”

A copper stater was an ancient coin used in various parts of Greece, the earliest dating to the 8th century BC

The ruins of Phanagoria are located in what is now modern-day Krasnodar Krai on the Taman Peninsula, off the coast of the Black Sea.

The ruins of Phanagoria are located in what is now modern-day Krasnodar Krai on the Taman Peninsula, off the coast of the Black Sea

The ruins of Phanagoria are located in what is now modern-day Krasnodar Krai on the Taman Peninsula, off the coast of the Black Sea

Krasnodar Krai on the Taman Peninsula is located just off the coast of the Black Sea, near Crimea

Krasnodar Krai on the Taman Peninsula is located just off the coast of the Black Sea, near Crimea

Kuznetsov explained that this discovery is “associated with a dramatic and mysterious page in the history of medieval Phanagoria – the capital of one of the earliest Christian dioceses in Russia.”

The researcher added that the discovery “talks about the extraordinary circumstances under which” [the objects] were hidden due to the possible attack of the enemies of the person.

“In a hurry, a resident of Phanagoria hid a bundle of 80 coins in the throat of an ancient broken amphora that had surfaced under his arm and covered the hole with earth.”

The coins are likely minted in the late third or early fourth century, Kuznetsov and his team determined.

They probably came from the Bosporan kingdom, with the last coin from this empire in 341 AD

They probably came from the Bosporan kingdom, with the last coin from this empire in 341 AD

They probably came from the Bosporan kingdom, with the last coin from this empire in 341 AD.

However, a mass of staters made of a copper-lead alloy continued to circulate in the Bosphorous for several centuries, with Byzantine gold playing the part of “expensive” money, Kuznetsov added.

In 2019, Kuznetsov and other researchers found a gold coin nearby, minted during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

It is likely that both discoveries are associated with “turbulent historical events of the time, with a revolt against the Hunnic leader Gord in 528 or 534, according to Artnet.

The second discovery of the gold coin dates to the latter part of the century, but the reason for the burial is still unknown.

“The Justinian gold coin I found two years ago in Phanagoria serves as evidence that the new treasure is associated with the second, late fire of the 6th century,” Kuznetsov noted.

‘But exactly who – the Avars or the Turks – destroyed the capital of the Phanagorian diocese remains unknown. The new treasure from Phanagoria is invaluable evidence of historical events and the economy of the early Middle Ages.’

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE ANCIENT CITY OF PHANAGORIA?

Phangoria, as it was known to the ancient Greeks, was the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom about 2000 years ago.

It was an important trade center between the South Caucasus and the Maeotic swamps.

The city is located between the Sea of ​​Azov and the Black Sea, on Russian soil.

It remained a thriving trading area for 1,500 years until the 10th century AD, when an invasion by tribes of the Russians – who lent their name to the modern part of Russia – led to the city’s demise.

It was later found in the 18th century, when archaeologists discovered the basis of statues with dedications to the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Much of the city remains underwater and archaeologists continue to explore its hidden secrets.

The sunken city is said to contain the oldest known acropolis discovered in modern Russia.

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