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PhD Position: A third century crisis? The composition and metallurgy of Roman silver coinage, Septimius Severus to Valerian and Gallienus’

PhD attached to 3-year AHRC-funded research project, ‘A third century crisis? The composition and metallurgy of Roman silver coinage, Septimius Severus to Valerian and Gallienus’, conducted by the University of Warwick and the University of Liverpool. The main part of the project is the metallurgical analysis of 2,250 Roman silver coins to determine changes made to the coinage in this period, which is a key period of change in the coinage of the Roman empire. The student will be based at Warwick, under the supervision of Professor Kevin Butcher, and will collaborate with two other research projects, ‘Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire’ based at the University of Oxford; and the ‘Coin Hoards in Roman Britain’ led jointly by the British Museum and the University of Leicester. Work will involve the analysis of hoarding patterns, which is crucial to interpreting the effects of coinage reforms. It will include the creation of a database of selected coin hoards, at a level of detail of the individual coins, and manipulation of the data informed by metallurgical and metrological analyses arising from the project to look for patterns that are likely to be a response to changes to weights and fineness of the coins. The first year will involve gathering data from publications of hoards and entering the descriptions on a database. This will involve recording tens of thousands of coins. The choice of hoards will be guided by the supervisor. In the second year, the preliminary results for fineness and weights from the main project will be used to guide the student in examining whether debasements or weight reductions resulted in rapid hoarding or removal of earlier issues from circulation, according to Gresham’s Law; and whether there are regional hoarding patterns and, if so, how these can be explained. For example: did debasements result in the export of finer coins outside the Roman empire? How did the public react to any improvements in fineness or increases in weight? Was the public able to identify individual coin issues that were finer and remove them from circulation after further debasements took place? How does the pattern or distribution of denarii relate to that of radiates? By the third year the full results of the metallurgical and metrological work of the main project will be available in order for the student to refine the study while writing up.
No of awards: 1
Funding includes fees and maintenance at RCUK level
Eligibility: The following are eligible for this funding: Home (UK and EU)
Further details of eligibility: Applicants must be able to demonstrate sound knowledge of Roman imperial coinage and coins as archaeological finds.

Deadline for applications: August 25 2014

Covering letter and c.v. by mail to Professor Kevin Butcher, Dept of Classics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL