Major progress in archaeological and numismatic science in southeastern Europe has come with the recent completion of the work – From Koine To Romanitas – by Dr. Evgeni Paunov of Cardiff University (Paunov E. (2012)From Koine To Romanitas: The Numismatic Evidence For Roman Expansion And Settlement In Bulgaria In Antiquity (Moesia and Thrace, ca. 146 BC – AD 98/117) Phd. Thesis. School of History, Archaeology and Religion. Cardiff University. November 2012). In this comprehensive study the Bulgarian archaeologist/numismatist presents for the first time an objective overview of all the available archaeological and numismatic material from Thrace relating to the immediate pre-Roman and Roman periods – evidence which fundamentally alters our understanding of the history of s.e. Europe during this period.
From the perspective of the Celtic presence in Thrace, a number of conclusions in Dr. Paunov’s work are worthy of consideration, foremost among them data pertaining to the distribution of Celtic coin hoards from the territory of the present day Republic of Bulgaria. For example, Dr. Paunov identifies 44 coin hoards of Celtic ‘Macedonian types’ (49 according to Balkancelts – see ‘Little Metal Men’ article), and on the basis of the scientific evidence reaches the following conclusions:
1. The amount of this type of Celtic silver coinage in Bulgaria is far larger than previously suspected.
2. These types of Celtic coins are concentrated in the area between the Haemus (Balkan) mountains and the Danube in today’s northern Bulgaria, stretching from the Vidin region in the northwest to the western Black Sea coast. Thus, the production and distribution of these types of Celtic coins is closely linked to the lower Danube region, and similar Celtic hoards from modern day Serbia and s. Romania.
(After Paunov 2012)
- Does not include coinage of the Celtic Tyle state in today’s eastern Bulgaria, Celtic ‘Thasos’, Zaravetz, or Strymon/Trident issues
3. A further concentration is to be observed in south-central Bulgaria, focused on the eastern Thracian Plain around the Plovdiv/Stara Zagora area.
Celtic silver drachmas from Bratya Daskalovi, Stara Zagora region (circa 50 BC)
(After Prokopov et al 2011; See Numismatics section 1 and ‘Heart of Thrace’ articles with cited lit.)
4. A particularly high concentration of ‘Sattelpferdkopf’ type Celtic tetradrachms is documented in the Rousse area of northeastern Bulgaria:
Artistic evolution of the Celtic Sattelkofpferd tetradrachm
Celtic tetradrachms from the Pirgovo / 1977 hoard, type Sattelkofpferd
Regional Historical Museum Russe (see ‘The Mother Matrix’ article)
A cast bronze die (matrix) for Celtic coinage of type Sattelkofpferd
(Rousse Numismatic Museum (see ‘The Mother Matrix’ article with cited lit.)
5. The line from Rousse to Veliko Tarnovo, mostly along the Jantra and Russenski Lom rivers, is the central axis of this type of Celtic coinage, respectively the core of the Celtic tribal state/organization that produced it (see also ‘Mediolana and the Zaravetz Culture’ article).
Recorded Hoards of Celtic Coins of the ‘Macedonian Types’ in Northeastern Bulgaria
(after Paunov 2012)