Gold Solidus of Justinian I (527–65)
Coins like this one from the Byzantine Empire can reveal a great deal. Coins found in a well can tell historians and archeologists the range of dates people settled in a given area. Coins can also help date other artifacts that researchers find near the coins. Finally coins tell historians the extent and reach of various trading networks. This coin features Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and is the first such coin to depict a frontal portrait of the emperor which would be the standard depiction for the rest of Byzantine history. A coin similar this this one was found in the tomb of Tian Hong (d. 575) in Guyuan, China over 4,000 miles (6400 km) away.
This source is a part of the Analyzing Material Objects methods module.
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Accession Number: 99.35.7406.