Weight of 1 necef - ROM2014_14144_8

ROM2014_14144_8

Weight of 1 necef

Medium:Basalt, carved and smoothed
Geography: Possibly excavated at Naukratis, Egypt
Date: c. 664-30 BC
Period: Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
Dimensions:
1.2 × 2.2 × 1.7 cm, 10.4 g
Object number: 909.80.351
Not on view
Description

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 silver or copper was used.  Goods were valued in terms of how much copper or silver would be required to buy them, and then exchanged for other goods with the same value in metal.  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 of copper, which was purchased for two goats, one pig, two sycamore logs, and 13.5 deben of actual copper. There are many such exchanges recorded from Ancient Egypt.  Units of grain and oils were also used in exchange-barter.  As in modern economies, rates of exchange varied with supply. The weight, in grams, of a deben changed from the Old and New Kingdoms to the Late Period, but a qedet, (also known as a kite) was always valued at one tenth of a deben.

In addition to the native system of deben and qedet (one tenth of a deben), the Ancient Egyptians also used Mesopotamian, Syrian, Greek and other systems. This necef weight is from the Syrian system. The city of Naukratis, where a great many weights have been found, had a mixed population of soldiers and traders from the Aegean, Syria and Mesopotamia as well as native Egyptians. Mesopotamian weights, have been found in Egyptian contexts as early as the pre-dynastic Gerzean period; the use of necef values dates at least to the New Kingdom, where they have been found from the time of Thutmosis III.

Stone and bronze weights equivalent to specific amounts of copper were used in everyday market transactions, and could be checked against more official weights kept in temples

Collection:
Egypt
Bibliography:
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