Weight of 2 deben - ROM2014_14146_4


Weight of 2 deben

Medium:Basalt, carved and polished
Geography: Possibly excavated at Naukratis, Egypt
Date: c. 664-30 BC
Period: Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
4 × 5.3 cm, 193 g
Object number: 909.80.367
Not on view

Currency in the form of coins was introduced into Egypt during the Late Period, but for most of Ancient Egyptian history a barter-exchange system based on the value of various weights of copper was used.  Goods were valued in terms of how much copper would be required to buy them, and then exchanged for other goods with the same value in copper.  For example, an Ostracon from Deir el Medina, #73, verso, described by Jac Jansen in Commodity Prices from the Ramesside Period (Leiden, 1975) gives an example of a coffin worth 25.5 deben, which was purchased for two goats, one pig, two sycamore logs, and 13.5 deben of actual copper.  There are many such exhanges recorded from Ancient Egypt.  Weights of silver and units of grain and oils were also used in exchange-barter.  As in modern economies, the rate of exchange between, say, silver and copper, varied with supply.  The actual weight, in grams, of a deben changed from the Old and New Kingdoms to the Late Period.

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