Bronze Egyptian coin of Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Hellenistic, 285 - 246BC
Found at Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire
This is one of at least ten known Ptolemaic coins found in and around Winchester of which five are preserved in the museum's collections. The coin shows the usual head of Jupiter on the obverse and an eagle on a thunderbolt on the reverse. The Ptolemies were the Hellenistic rulers of Egypt - descendants of Alexander the Great - in the final centuries of the first millennium before conquest by Rome. Accounting for the presence of these early coins in Winchester has proved problematical. One suggestion is that they are associated with the 1st century BC Iron Age enclosure at Oram's Arbour, which partly underlies the Roman town. If this is so they may have been valued as ingots rather than as currency in the usual sense. Another suggestion is that one or more of the coins are modern 'plants' - someone's idea of a joke.