New Archaic Coin Finds at Sardis
Two Archaic coins were discovered in excavations of the western fortification of Lydian Sardis in the summer of 2002. The coins, one gold and one silver, are Lydian 12th staters with the confronting foreparts of a lion and bull on the obverse and a square incuse punch on the reverse, the type of coins that are commonly referred to today as "croeseids." They come from under and around a cobbled pavement belonging to the fortification. The pavement and the coins under it were sealed by destruction debris when the fortification was demolished, an event that can be confidently assigned to the capture of Sardis by Cyrus the Great of Persia in the 540s B.C. A third coin, although not recognized as such at the time, was found in 1988 in the destruction debris itself with the skeleton of a young man, probably a casualty of the battle. Upon cleaning, this coin proved to be a croeseid silver 24th stater. The discovery of these coins from a secure context offers a new and much-needed fixed point in the chronology of the Archaic coinage of Asia Minor.