Coins in the Countryside? Gauging Rural Monetization
Monetization is "the extension...of the use of money in all its aspects... to the nonmonetized (subsistence and barter) sector" and can be measured by determining the "proportion of aggregate goods and services in an economy that are paid for in money by the purchaser." Such measurements are difficult to accomplish even for modern economies. For the ancient world, it is obviously impossible. Nevertheless the study of monetization in the ancient Mediterranean deserves greater attention. In this paper I will discuss the importance of monetization within and beyond the economic sphere, briefly review how scholars have treated the question of rural monetization in the past three decades, and suggest how we may better detect the use of coins in the countryside.
This book chapter is published as Hollander, D.B., Coins in the Countryside? Gauging Rural Monetization Common Ground: Archaeology, Art, Science and Humanities: The Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Classical Archaeology (2006); pg.315-317(iv-g). Posted with permission.