Roman coins in mediaeval female burials from the territory of Serbia: Possible interpretations

  • Gordana Ćirić Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Keywords:
Roman coins, Mediaeval graves, Serbia, secondary usage, treasuries, biography of objects, dowry

Abstract

The paper explores the phenomenon of secondary usage of Roman coins (2nd to 4th century) in medieval necropolises (10th to 15th century) in the territory of Serbia. The research is focused upon the graves in which the coins are used as ornaments on the costume of the deceased, most frequently reshaped as pendants. This type of secondary usage is only registered in female graves. The paper aims to suggest the interpretation of this phenomenon via the analysis of value and importance of secondarily used coins in the formation of family treasures, defined in important and critical moments of the social life. The possibility is explored of the graves in which female individuals were buried with parts of their dowry. The construction of meaning of these objects is analysed through their exchange in the customs linked to marriage and, finally, funerary practices. Since the Roman coins are scarce and exclusively made of bronze, it may be concluded that the definition of their value and importance is based upon the symbolic and representational levels. The starting point of the paper is the concept of the social biography of objects, in order to further investigate the link between the Serbian medieval social structure and evaluation of the coins in rural communities of the Central Balkans.

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Published
2016-11-02
How to Cite
Ćirić, Gordana. 2016. “Roman Coins in Mediaeval Female Burials from the Territory of Serbia: Possible Interpretations”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (3), 731–747. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v11i3.5.