A Hellenistic coin hoard in the guest house in Aigeira

A coin hoard excavated stratigraphically with 579 silver coins and deposited in 219 BCE will be assessed through an intersection of archaeological, numismatic, and historiographic criteria. This will provide new information on the use of the public guest house as find spot as well as the numismatic-historical assessment of Aigeira and Achaea.

Find circumstances

The completely preserved clay cooking pot with the coin hoard was found buried into the adobe floor of a small room in the southern wing immediately in the northern corner of the entrance in the west. The room was the result of a change to the building in the 3rd century BCE according to which an originally larger room for storage and kitchen preparation was built into a group of three rooms of likely similar use.

Numismatic assessment 

The fully recovered hoard with 579 silver coins of the 4th and 3rd century BCE present a spectrum that is completely different from the circulating coins discovered in the area of the building complex. In addition to the many coins from the neighboring Sikyon (238), a higher proportion of mainland Greek mints (312) is remarkable; the predominant coins are from Histiaia, Euboea (282). The date of the burial of the hoard can be estimated to around 220 BCE. The date corresponds with the other finds in the room.

Historical implications 

The burying of a hoard in a recognizable corner in order to find it again more easily suggests a critical circumstance. This is illuminated by a detailed description by Polybius of the attack of the Aitolians on Aigeira in 219 BCE; he also refers to fighting in the area of the acropolis where the guest house is located. 

Local implications

If we assume that the burial place was identical with the general storage location, a direct link to its function as guest house can be drawn. The spectrum of coins is very different from the regional coin circulation of the 4th and 3rd century and suggests a ›professional‹ hoard instead of a ›private‹ one. This circumstance corresponds with the function of the building deduced from its architectural characteristics as stately public guest house.