Gold dinar depicting Caliph Abd al-Malik
Coins are objects that can help historians see change over time. This Dinar coined in 695 likely depicts Abd al-Malik ibn the caliph or leader of the Umayyad Caliphate. Several aspects of the coin make it an interesting object for study. For one, the coin's design was likely influenced by coins like this one produced by the Byzantine Empire. This indicates a cultural link between the two empires. Another interesting feature is the fact an image appears on the coin at all. The Muslim rule against of graven images of humans had not yet formed in this early history. Coins minted only two to three years later would feature just the inscription with no image.
This source is a part of the Analyzing Material Objects methods module.
PHGCOM, Wikimedia Commons