From the territory of Central Europe that lies north of the Sudetes and the Carpathians, occupied during the Roman Period by the Przeworsk and the Wielbark cultures, we currently have a record of only a very small number of Roman Imperial denarii issued before AD 64. The interpretation of these finds is hindered by the small size of this database and the lack of archaeological context. There are three possibilities; one of them is that these coins, or at least some of them, entered the region as a complement of a ‘Republican’ wave of infl ux, which contained a signifi cant amount of Roman Republican denarii. The second possibility is that the Early Imperial denarii passed into the Central European Barbaricum during the second century as a small admixture to a great wave of denarii struck after AD 64. The third option is that we ought to view the influx of the Early Imperial coins as an independent and a minor occurrence not related directly either to the ‘Republican’ or the ‘second-century’ wave. The view held by the author of this article is that the influx of the bulk of pre-AD 64 Imperial denarii is best explained by the first hypothesis.
From the territory of present day Poland, occupied during the Roman Period by the Przeworsk Culture and the Wielbark Culture, we currently have a record on ten hoards of Roman Imperial silver coinage, 1st to 3rd century (denarii, and a single denarii-and-antoniniani hoard), which also contain one, at most, two Republican or Augustan issues. A comparison of the structure of these hoards with the hoards known from other regions of Barbaricum and the territory of the Roman Empire supports the argument that these early denarii entered the region to the north of the Carpathian range with the later coins during the Imperial period, the second to the mid-third century. Perhaps, some pre-Neronian denarii, known from single and cumulative finds recorded in the Przeworsk and Wielbark culture territory were introduced to the same area during that age.
The paper aims at determining the provenance of Roman coins in an early medieval hoard found at Obrzycko in Wielkopolska in the 19th century. It is unlikely, taking into account the occurrence of late Roman silver coins in the territory of Poland and adjacent countries, that a fragment of a siliqua or miliarense with the name of Theodosius (I or II) would come from local finds made in the Early Medieval epoch.
Based on the small finds of Roman denarii dating back to the first-third centuries, coming from the area of Poland, registered in 2004–2011 and compared to the composition of coin hoards of the same nominal value from the same area, one can venture to specify the chronology of these denarii infl ow more precisely. Two main inflow waves of denarii from the first-second centuries to the lands of the present-day Poland can be dated to the period from the second half of Antoninus Pius’ reign (138–161) to the early days of Marcus Aurelius’ reign (161–180) and the first years of Septimius Severus’ reign (193–211). When denarii are concerned alone, those waves were preceded by smaller ones, most probably during Trajan’s reign (98–117) and at the turn of Hadrian’s (117–138) and Antoninus Pius’ reigns. Few denarii from the third century, mixed with a small number of older denarii to some extent, came probably in the first half of the third century.
In the years 2004–2007 a number of interesting discoveries of Roman coins occurred in the basin of the river Bzura in central Poland. Among them the most notable are three hoards of denarii: from Krzyżanówek, Sobota and the region of Sochaczew. The original size of these assemblages is hard to estimate. With a probability bordering on certainty we may assume that only a part of the coins scattered by ploughing was recovered. Coins from the three hoards are confined to the period between the death of Nero (54–68 AD) and the first years of the reign of Septimius Severus (193–211 AD). Only a supposed Republican coin belonging to one of the hoards falls outside these chronological limits. Much more interesting than the content of the hoards is what we may surmise to have been the manner of their deposition. As may be concluded from what in most cases are rather laconic descriptions of the place of discovery of the coins, they were discovered not far from the river. Moreover, the fact that they had been scattered by ploughing suggests that originally they rested at a relatively shallow depth in the ground. From the described circumstances the recently discovered hoards are all similar to the largest deposit recorded on the river Bzura so far — the hoard from Drzewicz Nowy, described in detail and analysed in a monograph of A. Krzyżanowska (1976). The vestigial character of the data on the new hoards makes it possible only to propose a very cautious hypothesis as to the occurrence in the basin of the Bzura of a whole series of hoards of ‘Drzewicz type’, probably deposited for votive reasons. In the same area 54 silver and bronze Roman coins from 33 recent small finds were also registered. Most of them were denarii of the first and second centuries, including five subaerati (1 certain and 4 supposed). Only one of the recently found denarii had been struck in the third century. The rest of the newly discovered coins were two sestertii of the second and third centuries and two bronzes of the fourth century. On the basis of various premises (eg. coin finds from localities known through archaeological excavations) it is possible to assume that sizable numbers of these coins were discovered at a specific archaeological site and could be regarded as a settlement or grave find. The basin of the river Bzura, heavily populated during the Roman Period, abounds in finds of Roman coins and has yielded one of the largest concentration of recorded Roman coin finds in Poland.
The paper presents three cases of alleged classical coins, that are in fact modern items imitating classical coins, purportedly discovered at prehistoric sites on the present-day territory of Poland. This is used as a starting point for discussion on critical evaluation of numismatic and archaeological sources related to coin finds.