Copper alloy currency-bar ('ramo secco').
- 6thC BC-4thC BC (circa)
- Made in: Etruria (?)
- (Europe,Italy,Etruria (Italy - archaic))
- Weight: 829.31 grammes
'Ramo secco' bar, c. 6th-4th century BC. The name derives from the design of a 'dry branch'. Such bars are found principally in northern central Italy. An early date is suggested by the discovery of one piece in a stratum of an excavation near Gela in Sicily which has been dated by the pottery finds to the 6th century BC.
Copper alloys were used as currency in northern and central Italy in the form of scrap and cast into bars. The earliest bars contained copper and iron, and apparently circulated from the 6th to 3rd centuries BC, mainly in Etruria. They were very brittle, and it seems likely that the iron was introduced to increase their weight. The weight was not fixed at this stage, but when the Romans started to make their own currency bars in about 300 BC, they adopted a standard of about 5 Roman pounds.
Burnett, Andrew and Paul T. Craddock and Nigel Meeks. ‘Italian currency bars.’ Italian Iron Age Artefacts in the British Museum. Papers of the Sixth British Museum Classical Colloquium, 1982, edited by Judith Swaddling. London: British Museum Publications Ltd, 1986. p. 127-130.
See Tripp, David Enders. ‘Coinage.’ Etruscan life and afterlife: a handbook of Etruscan studies, edited by Larissa Bonfante. Warmister: Aris & Phillips, 1986. p. 203, fig. VI.17.
Not on display
Coins & Medals
- HSBC.755 (Money Gallery Exhibited)
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: email@example.com
Object reference number: CGR133822
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.