Skills course: Introduction to Roman numismatics – 13 January 2022

Skills course: Introduction to Roman numismatics

Date: 13 January 2022

Location: Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam (partially online if necessary due to covid restrictions)

Credits: 1 ECT

Coinage is one of the best preserved sources of antiquity. Each year, thousands of Roman coins are found in the Netherlands by planned excavations, but also by accident or by metal detectorists. These finds are documented in the open access databases PAN and NUMIS, which offer interesting opportunities for research. Under these circumstances, some basic knowledge of coinage is indispensable for any archaeologist. This one-day course offers an introduction to Roman coinage in general, and zooms in specifically on the types that are commonly found in the Dutch soil.

After a general introduction on the main developments in the Roman coin system from the introduction of coinage to the 3rd c. AD, the course will focus on coin identification. You will learn to consult and interpret numismatic catalogues, such as Roman Republican Coinage and Roman Imperial Coinage, and related web-based databases, such as CRRO and OCRE, and we will discuss their pitfalls. Special attention will be given to the various abbreviations and symbols used on Roman coinage and how these are documented in the numismatic handbooks (no knowledge of Latin required).

In addition to these practical skills, you will be introduced to broader debates about the development of different monetary systems in the Roman world, and the spread and use of coinage over the Roman Empire. This background knowledge is essential to be able to interpret coins in archaeological contexts. In addition, this will allow us to discuss the value of coins as sources for historical and archaeological research.

This skills course will be taught by dr. Marleen Termeer (RU) and dr. Liesbeth Claes (UL).

Learning goals:

RMA and PhD student participants:

  • will learn the basics of the Roman numismatic discipline;
  • will get acquainted with the historical numismatic developments of Roman coinage from the Republic period until the third century AD;
  • will be provided with tools to work with Roman coinage and to implement them in their own research;
  • will acquire knowledge of and insight to the apparatus, catalogues and databases of Roman coinage.

This course can be an optional preparation to the KNIR/OIKOS course about coinage as a historical source. 

Preliminary programme

10.30 – 12.30

  • introduction
  • discussion assignment Republican coins
  • working with Republican coins from AP collection

12.30 – 13.30 LUNCH

13.30 – 15.00

  • discussion assignment early & high imperial coins
  • working with early & high imperial coins from AP collection

15.30 – 17.00

  • discussion assignment 3rd century coins
  • working with 3rd century coins from AP collection

Credits: ARCHON members can receive 1 ECT for attending the course and handing in a reflection report afterwards. Participants are required to read preparatory literature in advance of the course. Since there is limited place, ARCHON members have priority.


    If you are not ARCHON member, please contact our coordinator by sending an email to