Shekel weight - 937.64.107_1


Shekel weight

Medium:Carved basalt, smoothed
Geography: Excavated at Naukratis or Tell Defenneh, Egypt
Date: c. 664-332 BC
Period: Late Period
4.1 × 4.3 × 4.3 cm, 158.7 g
Object number: 937.64.107
Credit Line: Gift of the University of London
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt
DescriptionCurrency 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. 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.
Object History: From the University College Collection through Professor S.R.K. Glanville. Majority of series (937.64.1-937.64.129) come from Naukratis and Tell Defenneh.
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