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The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes: Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra

New edited volume by Professor Rubina Raja.

What is in your wallet? Cash card. Coins. Entrance tickets to the theatre. Health insurance card. Ticket coupons for coffee. Driver’s license. Old faded receipts. Photographs of your loved ones. These small items tell a great deal about you and the life you are living. The same is true for the ‘small stuff’ of the people that lived centuries ago.

In ancient Palmyra, coins and entrance tickets for banquets, so-called banqueting tesserae, are some of the tiny objects that reveal a great deal about life in the desert city. There is much more to the ancient urban centre of Palmyra than the well-known portrait sculpture and the magnificent colonnaded streets. And this is explored in the just published volume The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes: Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra, edited by Rubina Raja.

The Palmyrene small finds brought together researchers at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen in 2019. The enigmatic local coinage and the richly decorated banqueting tesserae were studied and discussed in their own right in order to get a deeper understanding of urban life in Palmyra in the first three centuries CE.

The new publication arises from the conference as well as from the research project Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability in Antiquity (headed by Rubina Raja). Through contributions by 10 specialists in Palmyrene and Middle Eastern archaeology, history and language, the volume zooms in on the tiny, but hugely important, coins and banqueting tesserae that would most definitely have been found in a Palmyrene wallet.

Full reference to the publication

Raja, R. (ed.) (2022). The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes: Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra, Studies in Palmyrene Archaeology and History 5, Turnhout: Brepols.


  • The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes: Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra – Rubina Raja
  • Revisiting the Palmyrene Banqueting Tesserae: Conceptualization, Production, Usage, and Meaning of the Palmyrene – Rubina Raja
  • Tesserae and Prosopography – Jean-Baptiste Yon
  • Palmyrene Tesserae in the Context of Temple Administration – Aleksandra Kubiak-Schneider
  • Some Thoughts on Divine Representations on Palmyrene Coins and Tesserae – Ted Kaizer
  • Caravan Trade in Palmyrene Tesserae and Coins? – Eivind H. Seland
  • Three Forgotten Tesserae and a Coin from Palmyra in the Oriental Museum at Durham University – Jeremy M. Hutton and Ted Kaizer
  • The Production, Circulation and Function of the Local Palmyrene Coinage – Nathalia B. Kristensen
  • Palmyra’s Small Coins and their Dies: Preliminary Results – Nathanael J. Andrade
  • Civic Coins and Urban Networks: Palmyra and its Coinage in a Regional Perspective – Michael Blömer
  • Bigger Stuff Beyond Palmyra: The Coinage of the Hatrans and Assyrians – Kevin Butcher

Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability in Antiquity

Funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation

Link: https://projects.au.dk/circulareconomy/