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Ancient copper coins found in Uzbekistan

Ancient copper coins found in UzbekistanBukhara archeological expedition of the State Hermitage (Russia) discovered unique treasure in Paykend, ancient city in southern-western border of Bukhara oasis, about 60 km from Bukhara city, the press service of the museum said.

The city played an important role of transit point at crossroads from Khorezm, Samarkand and Nahshaba. One of important roads of Great Silk Road passed through this city – from Sogdiana to passes in Amudarya and further, and from Khorasan to Middle East.

A joint expedition of the State Hermitage and Institute of Archeology of Uzbekistan have been carrying out archeological research at the ancient city for over 30 years. During this time, the archeologists studied fortifications of the city: on the citadel they discovered Zoroastrian temple, barracks of the III-IV centuries, the medieval castle, remains of the mosque and the minaret of X century. In the urban part, in two Shahristans, the archeologists studied network of streets, residential areas, and a market complex. The archeologists are carrying out excavation works of two suburbs Paykend at the large area.

Ancient copper coins found in UzbekistanUnique treasure, which was found in 2013 season in resident area of Shahristan I, is currently under restoration and scientific processing stages. According to preliminary data, the treasure includes some 4,200 early Medieval copper coins.

The discovery was made in one of the houses, judging by its size, owned by a wealthy family of Paykend citizen. The treasure is unique in its capacity - a total of about 6 pounds of bronze. This is the first such finding both in the Bukhara oasis and whole Central Asia. It is also essential that the discovery was made in the course of scientific archaeological excavations, in a stratified context.

The treasure includes various types of coins, which were issued in Bukhara’s Sughd, as well as some imported: from Samarkand, Tashkent, Syrdarya, Khorezm and central regions of the Arab Caliphate. Apparently, the bag of coins was hidden near the middle of the VIII century, during the period of repeated revolts of the Sogdians against Arab rule in the region. It is worth to mention that the treasure does not have square coins with hole in the middle, which were spread in Sughd in the VII-VIII centuries and coins with Sogdian legend Patkand (ie Paikend).

From the relatively late hoard of coins - Arabic with the words "60 per dirham" on the obverse and "commonplace in all cases' on the reverse, there are older coins, for example, an anonymous Samarkand minted VI - the first half of VII century. From the relatively late of coins is an Arabic count with the words “60 per dirham” on the obverse and “commonplace in all cases” on the reverse. There are older coins, for example, an anonymous Samarkand minted coin of the sixth and the first half of the seventh century.

About 10% of treasure is common for Bukhara’s Sughd and Paykend, in particular, coins with image of camel. But about 90% of coins (over 3,500) are rare coins. There were nine samples of these coins so far, of which give were at Hermitage.

The obverse of these coins is in a pin rim and image of the king in a crown with the earrings. There are Sughd inscription and Bukharaian sign. On the reverse, there is image of horse in a pin rim.

Previously, these coins are supposed to be read as a Katvar - otherwise Gatifar – king of Ephtalites, who, according to the Persian epic Shakhname, was defeated by the troops of Turkic Kagan near Bukhara in the 560 years. The current treasure, of course, will force to review the date and issuer of this issue.