N.A. deposited The Tarsus Connection: Striking Coins, Striking Lives in the group Museums on Humanities Commons 5 years, 2 months ago
The Ella Riegel Study Collection at Bryn Mawr College houses a group of 88 coins donated by Hetty Goldman, the excavator of Gözlü Kule, Tarsus. The online database Triarte alleges that these coins were excavated at the site, with 37 vaguely titled “Coin of Tarsus (?).” My work combines archival research and numismatics to clarify the provenance of the coins and to catalogue those minted in Tarsus. My careful study of the excavation publications and other coin catalogues concludes that no Goldman coins were excavated at Tarsus and only seven were minted there. My exhaustive investigation of the College Archives allows the history of the coins to be plausibly reconstructed. My research also reveals 20 other coins minted in Tarsus, astoundingly donated by four women who are linked to each other through their connections to Hetty Goldman, the site of Tarsus, and Bryn Mawr College. Taking artifact histories into account, my research demonstrates that the educational value of artifacts is not limited to archaeological context. Seemingly insignificant artifacts can act as powerful vehicles of meaning: the coins not only offer a valuable historical slice of Tarsian coinage, but also highlight the depth of interpersonal connections between the women who donated them.