International Workshop ‘Archaeology of Money’

Thursday & Friday, 17–18 October 2013

Venue: Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany

Organisers: Colin Haselgrove (University of Leicester) & Stefan Krmnicek (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

Money is the most timeless, all-pervading and arbitrary thing in human history. By unifying notions of value, symbolism and fetish, it opens up a multiplicity of viewpoints on the people who use it. As a material manifestation, money is an integral part of the archaeological record, which therefore provides an unmatched perspective on its varying roles over space and time.

This international workshop aims to discuss the archaeology of money in a comprehensive global and diachronic approach from Eurasian prehistory to 20th century ethnographies. The ubiquitous presence of monetary objects across the world and through history offers an excellent framework within which to compare the material manifestations of money and its different intangible expressions. The archaeological record also provides an unequalled opportunity for studying human engagement with varying concepts of money and money forms.

In the workshop, we will bring together scholars from different academic backgrounds and research traditions in order to discuss new avenues and perspectives for studying the meaning of money and for developing our understanding of the complexity of functions that monetary objects perform, and how people deal with it – in the past and in our own present.

Key note

Bill Maurer (University of California, Irvine)
Paper: Cashlessness, Ancient and Modern

List of speakers

Lorenz Rahmstorf (Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken)
Paper: Entangled conceptions of value, weight and money in Copper and Bronze Age societies: examples from Europe and Western Asia

Suzanne Frey-Kupper (University of Warwick)
Paper: Coin finds from classical sites: the coffee grounds of numismatics?

Scott Fitzpatrick (University of Oregon)
Paper: Traditional Money in Oceania

Hans Ulrich Vogel (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
Paper: "Coment le Grant Kaan fait despendre chartre por monoie": Currencies under Kublai Khan (1215-1294) as Reported by Marco Polo and in Chinese Sources

Lynn H. Gamble (University of California Santa Barbara)
Paper: The Entangled Life of Shell Beads in North America

Stephanie Wynne-Jones (University of York) & Jeffrey Fleisher (Rice University)
Paper: Aspects of value in Swahili coinage

Mark A. Hall (Perth Museum and Art Gallery)
Paper: Pennies from Heaven: Money in Ritual in Medieval Europe

Josephus Platenkamp (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)
Paper: Money alive and money dead. On the cosmology of money transfers in the North Moluccas (Indonesia)

All are welcome. There is no formal registration, but indication of intent to attend would be useful for planning purposes.


A special exhibition of traditional monies from Africa, Asia and Oceania which illustrate the broad workshop’s theme can be visited at the Institut für Klassische Archäologie during the workshop.

Arranged in association with:

Universitätsbund Tübingen e.V.

The Leverhulme Trust

Tracing Networks Programme, University of Leicester

Baden-Württembergische Bank

The Strathmartine Trust


For more information or to register your intent to attend, please contact the co-organiser, Stefan Krmnicek, Universität Tübingen: