Monday 1 February 2021

The Archaeological Values of the PAS Database (XVII): Coin of Menander

Welsh PAS database among the metal detecting finds:

WREX-DD6469 A silver Indo-Greek didrachm of Menander (c.160-145 BC) of the Kabul/Gandhara region (the modern border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan). Obverse: BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ MENANΔPOY ('Saviour King Menander'), diademed and draped bust right. Reverse: Karosthi inscription (maharajasa tratarasa / heramayasa: 'Saviour King Menander'), Athena Alkidemos standing left, holding horizontal shield on outstretched left arm, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, monogram in right field. As Mitchiner, 1978: nos. 1768-1772; Bopearachchi series 13 (O. Bopearachchi, Monnaies gréco-bactriennes et indo-grecques, Catalogue raisonné, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1991).[...] Chronology Broad period: GREEK AND ROMAN PROVINCIAL [...] Method of discovery: Metal detector   

Nowhere does the anonymous author of this record give the reader any idea how this "Greek and Roman provincial coin" reached Denbighshire. As an Iron Age trade good perhaps? Or why it is in the condition that it is. The PAS search engine shows that there are 19 Bactrian and Indo-Greek coins in the database. My suggestion is that their occurrence and distribution has no more significance than being colonial trophies showing where there were people that had contact with individuals returning from the Northwest Frontier (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) from c. 1835- 1947. Why they figure as "Greek provincial coins" in a database of archaeological finds from England and Wales is less clear. At the time of writing, no mention is made anywhere in the public record that this could be a modern loss.

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