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Department of History and Archaeology Organizes Workshop on Numismatics

January 21, 2013
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Three visiting French scholars held an intensive workshop at Birzeit University on the field of archeology and the study of coins, also called numismatics. The workshop was organized by BZU’s Department of History and Archaeology and sponsored by the Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO), the French Consulate, and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem from December 3-7, 2012.


Professors Gaëlle Thévenin and Jean-Sylvain Caillou from the IFPO conducted a session where participants were exposed to different methods of cleaning coins, using chemicals and electricity to bring out the coins’ features without damaging them. Participants were able to use dozens of actual coins to try out the techniques in practice.


In another two-day session, Professor Thomas Bauzou from the Université d'Orléans discussed in detail the various methodologies for identifying Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins. Participants were given the basic framework for identifying coins from the three periods, and their usefulness in archeological dating and other cultural and economic aspects.


Frédérique Duyrat from the Cabinet des Médailles, a division of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, also presented an extensive seminar on interpreting coins and what they tell us about ancient history, economy, and cultural and trade exchange. The economic and cultural significance of Palestinian coins were discussed in the regional context of the Levant and Egypt.


Overall, the workshop was attended by 32 students and staff members from various Palestinian and international universities, with a shared interest in archaeology. Additional specialized workshops are planned for the future.

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