Coins are an essential source of primary evidence for all students of the ancient world – historians, archaeologists, and literary scholars alike. This two-week training course provides hands-on experience of working with coins, both for those new to the subject and for those who wish to further their interest.
The course offers a chronological survey of Greek coinage, beginning with a discussion of money before coinage, and incorporating topics that range from the beginnings of the coinage in the seventh century BC up until the production of Greek coinage in the Roman period. The coinages of Greek settlements in various parts of the eastern and western Mediterranean will be studied, and Greek tokens will be discussed as well. There will be sessions on analytical techniques that assist the study of coins, such as describing and cataloguing, the importance of die studies, and the information that can be derived from hoards and site finds, weight standards and metrology, metallurgical analysis, databases.
The course will be taught at the BSA. In addition to lectures and seminars led by the course directors (Dr. Clare Rowan and Dr. Mairi Gkikaki), there will be guest lectures on a variety of numismatic topics, and students will engage direct study of numismatic objects. Students will work to identify coins assigned to them and to present the results of their study. The course will utilise the rich range of numismatic resources in and around Athens – museums and other coin collections, archaeological sites, and libraries.
The course fee will not exceed €750 and includes accommodation in shared rooms at the BSA, where self-catering facilities are available, as well as 24-hour access to the superb library, entry to all sites and museums, and BSA membership for one month. Travel to and from Greece is the sole responsibility of the course participant.
The course is limited to 10 places, and is open to students pursuing post-graduate degrees. Students are recommended to apply to their universities for financial support; a number of BSA-administered full and partial bursaries are available for students who would otherwise be unable to attend.
Please see below for the course itinerary and advert. The application portal will become available soon.
- Further Information
As far as the student point of view is concerned, the following is a sample of reaction from students on the 2016 course:
‘The BSA Postgraduate Course in Numismatics is a fantastic introduction to the study of coinage in the ancient Greek world. While coinage is a prime source of evidence for ancient historians, it is a difficult field to navigate without any formal training. The course offers an overview of the different coinages of the ancient Greek world and introduces the students to the different methodologies used by the ‘nitty gritty’ side of the numismatic discipline. The programme is intense, and the skills and information I have acquired would have taken me up to a year to assemble on my own. The most important aspect that a historian might take away from the course is the ways in which coinage can be used as evidence, and perhaps more importantly, the ways in which it cannot. I now feel a lot more confident in my use of numismatic evidence, and I recommend the course with great enthusiasm to anyone with a serious interest in the history of the ancient Greek world.’ (Charlotte Van Regenmortel)
‘The Numismatics course at the BSA is one I can recommend to any student who wishes to improve his research skills. It offers a clear historical and geographical overview of coinage and therefore allows the student to be eased into the subject, even without prior knowledge of numismatics. The variety of topics covers the entire spectrum of coinage, from iconography to metal analyses and die studies, helping students to get acquainted with these previously enigmatic terms. Moreover, the teachers at the course are engaging and stimulating in their enthusiasm for the subject, which helped greatly with the large amount of information to be processed in such a short period of time. Their contagious enthusiasm definitely helped to enhance the level of the course, as it ignited various debates during classes, in turn allowing for a more in-depth analysis of the problems posed by numismatic evidence. Another encouraging factor was the amount of ‘hands-on’ work that was offered to the students. The visits to several collections not only encouraged students to physically engage with the subject, but also helped them to realise the importance of the practical side to numismatics. In the end, the course has significantly broadened my horizon in terms of research and helped me to understand the uses and limits of coinage for my future historical research.’ (Roy van Wijk)
‘The BSA course left me feeling confident to approach numismatic material and to participate in ongoing debates. The course nicely complemented the other activities I was involved with during my research year in Athens. The access we had to both public and private collections in Athens was impressive. The guest lecturers couldn’t have been more accommodating, and it was really a pleasure to be able to talk at length with scholars who are doing interesting numismatic work within Greece itself. It was also wonderful to be able to work first-hand on the BSA’s own collections. Most importantly the course was fast paced and well organized; each subject area was taught by an expert in it. I recommend this and other BSA seminars to anyone who is going to spend a period over the spring and summer in Athens. The BSA is doing a real service in offering these courses on topics for which it is often not possible to obtain direct training at home.’ (Chris Parmenter)