Pre-Imperial Coinage in Anatolia: EU Supports Joint Research Project Between the Münzkabinett, the University of Oxford and the British Museum


The European Union is providing some two million euros in funding to a joint research project between the University of Oxford, the British Museum and the Münzkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. The aim of the five-year project is to produce a comprehensive, digitally accessible catalogue of pre-imperial coinage in Anatolia.

The Project “Change: The Development of the Monetary Economy of Ancient Anatolia, c. 630–30 BC”

Digitalisation is the order of the day for numismatics as for so many disciplines, but the research materials are often spread far and wide and are difficult to access. There is currently no complete overview of the coinage produced in pre-imperial Anatolia. The catalogue will cover the mints in some 336 cities, numerous different rulers and a time period stretching from the 7th century BC when the cultural techniques of coin production were first invented, through to the region’s absorption into the Roman Empire in c. 30 BC.

Now also supported by the EU, the project “Change: The Development of the Monetary Economy of Ancient Anatolia, c. 630–30 BC” is based at the University of Oxford. The British Museum in London and the Münzkabinett of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin are project partners. With more than 540,000 numismatic objects from antiquity through to the present day, the Münzkabinett boasts one of the six most important numismatic collections in the world.

“For years now we have maintained a close relationship with Oxford and London”, said Bernhard Weisser, Director of the Münzkabinett, “and we are pleased to be able to support this important research project with key data and background information on a further 12,000 coins. The objective is to reconstruct the pre-imperial monetary history of Anatolia, a topic that has received little attention in the past.”

You can find more information about the joint research project, including an interactive map of the mints of pre-imperial Anatolia on the website of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents.

Pilot Projects and the Münzkabinett’s Interactive Catalogue

The Münzkabinett is already involved in similar pilot projects on the regions of Troad and Mysia, in collaboration with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The outcomes of these projects, which are supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, will feed directly into this new project.

Right back in 2007 the Münzkabinett published its collection in an interactive catalogue, which now comprises more than 37,500 objects along with detailed background information that interests specialists and non-specialists alike. In addition to adopt-a-coin programmes, users can also now visit our new digital exhibitions. The first of these exhibitions focuses on historical numismatists of the second half of the 19th century.