Friday 23 February 2024

Olbia Dolphins Seized on Moldavian Frontier Crossing


            Cute, eh? Dolphin shaped coin (Odesa Journal)                       

An attempt to smuggle abroad numismatic material looted in Ukraine abroad was thwarted and the items have been deposited in the local museum (The Odessa Archaeological Museum received treasures that were tried to be illegally exported abroad Odesa Journal 18 Jan, 2023)
Twenty seven dolphin coins of the V-I V centuries. BC will remain in the Odesa Archaeological Museum. They were transferred there for safekeeping, according to the court's decision. The coins were found in a parcel that was being taken to Moldova.[...] The ancient cargo was discovered on the border with Moldova back in 2019. Thirty-three ancient coins, arrowheads, and a patch were found in the package. It turned out that a collector mailed the artifacts. [...] The man admitted his guilt in court. The examination results showed that he tried to take three-bladed Scythian arrowheads, cast coins with the image of dolphins, and other coins from Olbia out of the country. Another coin is a bronze coin from the ancient city of Amis (the modern city of Samsun, Turkey)[...] According to the court's decision, the collector received a one-year suspended sentence. [...] Also, the man has to pay more than UAH 33,000 for examinations.
I am currently writing an article on the dolphin coinage on the antiquities market - it turns out that in the coin assemblage of the site, late coins of Amisos are quite common in the later levels of the site. The dolphin coins are interesting, they are found in large quantities, do seem to have been used as money, but .... we do not understand how. The fat that so many of the extant ones are loose looted finds of unknown grounding does not help much. Collectors have their lore about them, they are popular in collections because 'cute' or 'cool', but when you get them in closed contexts, it tiu=urns out that all the elaborate typologies that antiquitists like to make from their heaps of coins on a table collections are meaningless. The paper is shaping up nicely.

By the way, the place's name is Odesa, one 's', it's Russians and the supporters of their attempted colonisation of Ukrainian territory that call it "Odessa" in English. And in the time of this War, we should do all we can to avoid normalisation of Russification and colonisation.


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