Archaeologists from Warsaw University have analyzed Roman coins found in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. Thanks to their research, they came to the conclusion that the coins do not come from the Roman Empire, as it has been thought so far, but were faked. Such information has been provided by the First News magazine on its website.
Hundreds of thousands of Roman denarii were found in the territories, which were inhabited by the Goths and Vandals at the beginning of our era. Professor A. Dymowski from Warsaw University, who conducts research in this area together with dr. K. Myzgin, told the PAP agency that some of these coins were counterfeits. They were silver-plated or came from a metal alloy, which looked like silver.
On the eastern periphery of the Roman Empire, ranging from eastern Germany through Poland and Ukraine to western Russia, Roman denarii were widely used. They were considered valuable by locals because of metal they were made from. According to Dymowski, the value of one denarius was higher than the daily salary of a first century legionnaire. Moreover, even in the lands of barbarians, they were commonly used as a means of payment.
Dr. Myzgin states: “We are convinced that in the first centuries of our era in the east of the Empire the exchange of goods by using money (denarii) took place more often than it has been thought.
“In recent years, several workshops have been discovered in Ukraine, where false denarii were produced. We think it is a matter of time before we discover such workshops in Poland” – he adds.
For an average customer of an ancient store, it was difficult to distinguish counterfeits from originals, because there are tiny differences between individual coins in respect of their appearance and weight (even by 1-1.5 grams).
According to scientists, even ¼ of Roman coins found in Poland can be false. However, it is difficult to establish the scale of the forgery, because most coins from this era have been corroded. Now, scientists want to discover the methods, skills and scale of ancient counterfeiters’ operation.