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The purpose of this article is to publish the results of X-ray fl uorescence analysis (XRF) of Rhescuporis V’s billon staters issued during fi rst fi fteen years of his rule, i.e. from AD 242/243 to AD 257/258. The database for the investigation is the biggest late Bosporan hoard found in the Phanagorian eastern necropolis in 2011 г. The hoard consists of 3695 coins of Ininthemeos, Rhescuporis V, Pharsanzes, Sauromates IV, Teiranes and Thothorses. The authors concentrate their attention on 590 staters of the concerned chronological period rich by violent events occurred in the North Pontic Region during the 3rd century AD. There were invasions and pirate raids of different Maeotis tribes – the Goths, Borani, Herulians, Satmatians, Alani, etc. Looking for the fi nances to fi ght against barbarians during these years, the state resorted to reduction of the silver content of staters. The survey by X-ray fl uorescence spectroscopy showed the poor silver content of the staters varying, with an average, between 11 and 27 per cent. The ancient technological treatment of base-alloy silver blanks supposed different coating techniques and methods of the affi nage and refi ning of the surface layer of a coins having poor silver content. The standard of alloy on the surface is much higher than those taken from the deep of a coin. The question on the methods of affi nage and refi ning of the coin surface used in the 3rd century AD would be dissolve with the help of further survey. X-ray fl uorescent method showed more than twofold reduction of the silver content of Rhescuporis V’s billon staters issued during first fifteen years of his rule. Thus, the present investigation confi rms that ultimate furious paces of the Bosporan coinage were followed by the infl ation and progressive deterioration of silver percentage of the staters, being induced by increased state needs of money under conditions of the strenuous military situation.


Bosporan Kingdom, Rhescuporis V, Phanagoria coin hoard, archaeometry, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), coin technique, alloy

Mikhail G. Abramzon

Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Olga L. Gunchina

State Historical and Archaeological Reserve “Phanagoria”, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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