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Arabic coin find on Baltic Sea coast

April 24, 2014 – On March 28, 2014, a team from the preservation and care of field monuments Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania led by Michael Schirren located a significant Arabic coin treasure near Anklam. The place on the coast of the Baltic Sea is primarily known among numismatists for the arguably most famous coin find from the time of the Thirty Years’ War.
As Lutz Ilisch from the Research Department for Islamic Numismatics at the University of Tübingen (“Forschungsstelle für Islamische Numismatik an der Universität Tübingen”) tells us, another dirham treasure was found already 100 years ago by a local farmer while ploughing his fields; he donated the 100 or so coins to the museum in Anklam.
During an archaeological sondage in 2013, the find spot was successfully located once more. It covered an area of approximately 600 square meters. Excavations recovered some 10 whole dirhams and 530 partly fragmented pieces. The dirhams can be dated back to the time between 900 and 920. The fragmentation is due to the medieval custom of using the silver coins not according to their face value but their weight. If necessary, the coins were simply cut into pieces.
Lutz Ilisch, one of the few experts on Islamic numismatics in Germany, commented: “The find grants us especially important insights into the second wave of Islamic coins in the Baltic Sea region and the beginning influx of central European money because hoard finds from the 920s in Northern and Eastern Germany are very rare.”

The German broadcasting company NDR documented the excavations. You can watch the broadcast and read the accompanying article in German on the NDR’s website.

The German newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten recently published a review of Islamic coin finds in Germany by Lutz Ilisch. Read the article here.

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