Bashar Mustafa, Francisco J. Esquivel, José A. Esquivel


In this article we present for review and discussion 57 gold coins discovered in the vicinity of the ancient site of Amrīt (Syria). Initial examina-tion reveals that these coins are probably from the time of Phocas, King of Amrit. The lack of coins minted in this period, 602-610 AD, that have been found to date on the Syrian coast makes this discovery very significant and will shed light into this area and its remarkable history. Our primary focus will be to anrelate the find to historical events contemporaneous with the manufacture of the coins.
The coins seem to have been manufactured in an exceptionally meticulous manner by highly skilled artisans evidenced by a minimum variability in weight among the set (C.V. = 1.44%). It is highly likely that two workshops produced the coins; one produced the major part of the cache, another produced
the remainder of the set of coins, those of smaller dimensions and weight. The coins produced by the workshop that produced the greater proportion have a C.V. = 0.6%, while this variable for the set of smaller coins, produced by the second workshop is triple this value. Further, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the latter group shows statistically significant differences.
The data indicate a high degree of homogeneity among the set of coins manufactured by the primary workshop, leading to the conclusion that these artisans were highly skilled and the manufacturing process robust, as the weight of gold in each is very nearly equal. However, with respect to diameter, standardization disappears as time passes; at the latter part of the period of production the coins were thinned while maintaining their weight and quantity of gold.

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