image/svg+xml65 X/1/2019 InterdIscIplInarIa archaeologIca natural scIences In archaeology homepage: Elemental Analysis of Silver Coins during the Umayyads through the PIXE Method Zohreh Jozi a , Parasto Masjedi Khak b* , Alireza Nosrati a a Department of Archaeology, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran b Department of Archaeology, University of Neyshabur, Khorasan Razavi, Iran 1. Introduction The Umayyads founded the Umayyad dynasty under the leadership of Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan in 41 AH (662 AD) and this government continued until 132 AH (753 AD) (Hawting, 1986, pp.35–39). During Muawiyah’s reign, Damascus became the capital of the Islamic State. The territory ruled by them was extended to India in the east and to the Iberian Peninsula in Spain in the west. Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the ffth Umayyad caliph (686–707 AD/ 65–86 AH), saved the Umayyad government from chaos when it was on the verge of collapse and, thereby, was able to bring about some reforms in the administrative and fnancial afairs of the state. Following him, Walid ibn Abd al-Malik (707–717 AD/ 86–96 AH) reached the height of power. The most important issue in the Walid era was the expansion through conquest, which included the conquest of Transoxania, Sindh, Africa, Andalusia, and conquests on the Roman front. These conquests are of special signifcance in Walid’s political performance. Also, Walid’s interest in developmental afairs and, of course, in the treasury that his father had left him, made him have an eye for the Caliphate’s development in addition to his own interests (ibid). During the era of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik (717–720 AD/ 96–99 AH), the number of conquests fell sharply compared to that of Walid’s period. After him, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (720–722 AD/99–101 AH) came to rule. His political actions were mostly directed towards the preservation of conquest and supervision of the governors’ performance in diferent regions. Then, Yazid bin Abd al-Malik (722–726 AD/ 101–105 AH) came to rule until the reign of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (726–746 AD/ 105–125 AH). Hisham’s rule is a brilliant era in the history of the Umayyads and conquests continued during his period (Maqrizi, 1967, p.54). Volume X ● Issue 1/2019 ● Pages 65–75 *Corresponding author. E-mail: ARtIcle INfo Article history: Received: 21 st June 2018 Accepted: 24 th July 2019DOI: 10.24916/iansa.2019.1.5 Key words: silver extractionleadthe UmayyadsPIXEcoin minting ABStRAct The Umayyads began their rule as the Caliphs of the newly-established Islamic empire in Damascus from 41 to 130 AH (662 to 751 AD). The territory ruled by them had been extended to India to the east and to the Iberian Peninsula in Spain to the west. The Umayyad government reached its peak at the time of Walid ibn Abd al-Malik and Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik. In this study, 42 silver coins belonging to the Umayyad Caliphs (Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, Yazid bin Abd al-Malik, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Walid ibn Yazid, Yazid ibn Walid, Ibrahim ibn Walid, and Marwan ibn Muhammad) were analyzed through the PIXE method. These coins have been minted at the Wasit, Basra, Damascus, Merv, Darabgerd, and Kerman mints from 82 to 128 AH (703 to 749 AD). The weight of the coins lies between 2.3 and 2.8 grams. The amount of silver in the coins varied from 86.13% to 90.95% with an average of 90.39% silver. In general, except for the year 126 AH (the Umayyad regime’s decline), the coins of the Umayyad period are of a great carat, which is because of various factors, such as the political and economic situation, access to silver sources, etc. The comparison of coins of the Umayyad era with those of the Sassanid period shows that the technology of extracting and minting silver in the Umayyad period did not difer from that in the Sassanid period. Similarly, the amount of gold in the specimens shows that probably the Umayyads, like the Sassanids, have used Cerussite ore in the minting of their coins. Our table pertaining to the distribution of the elements of gold, silver, and lead in these coins shows that no single ore has been used in minting the Umayyed coins.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2019 ● X/1 ● 65–75Zohreh Jozi, Parasto Masjedi Khak, Alireza Nosrati: Elemental Analysis of Silver Coins during the Umayyads through the PIXE Method 66 After Hisham, there began a decline of Umayyad rule, such that three caliphs, namely Walid ibn Yazid (746 AD/ 125 AH), Yazid ibn Walid (747 AD/126 AH), and Ibrahim bin Walid (747 AD/126 AH) came to power within only one year. Ultimately, the last Umayyad caliph came to rule, i.e. Marwan ibn Muhammad (748–753 AD/127–132 AH) and this dynasty came to an end after Marwan was defeated by the Abbasids. The last survivor of the Umayyads went to Andalusia (Spain) and founded the branch known as the Spanish Umayyads, which survived from 759 to 1043 AD/ 138 to 422 AH (Hawting, 1986, p.41). 2. Mint of coins in the Umayyad period In the Umayyad period, Muslims used Sassanian and Byzantine coins in their exchanges until the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (Ibn KHaldun, 1980). Due to the neglect of governments, impure dinars and dirhams with a high degree of impurity became common ((Ibn Khaldun, 1980, 500), which was followed by Abd al-Malik’s command for minting coins for the frst time in 695 AD/ 74 AH (Ibn al-Athir, 1987, p.167; Baladhuri, 1866, p.651). Today, the oldest coins remaining from Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan’s period date back to 699 AD/ 78 AH (Yousef Faraj Allah, 1985, p.37). Abd al-Malik appointed a steady carat for dirham and dinar and, accordingly, he put ofcial currency with its own characteristics into operation and limited the right to mint coins by assigning it only to the state mints (Baladhuri, 1866, p.473). After Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the minting of coins in the periods of Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, and Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz continued in the same way (Maqrizi, 1967, p.58). During the reign of Yazid bin Abd al-Malik (722–726 AD/ 101–105 AH), plenty of strict rules were applied to the weight of coins (Baladhuri, 1866, p.652). When Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik came to power (726–746 AD/ 105–125 AH), he closed the mints in all cities except Wasit; and dirham coins were minted only in Wasit (Maqrizi, 1967, p.16). This process continued until the period of Walid ibn Yazid and, during Marwan ibn Muhammad’s period (748–753 AD/ 127–132 AH), he – the last Umayyad caliph – also minted some dirhams in the Harran mint in addition to Wasit (Baladhuri, 1866, p.17). 3. Research background Several studies have been carried out in connection with coins pertaining to the early years of the Islamic era. In this regard, Ziad conducted his studies, where he collected a series of Umayyad silver coins that had been minted in the Wasit mint between 87 and 120 AH (708–741 AD), through the XRF method. His fndings highlight the high quality of the coins minted in this mint, where he reported an average silver content of 94.71% in the coins. His studies showed that there was a clear tendency towards better-quality dirhams over time, which may be due to the high control and constraints on the policies of coin minting by the rulers (Ziad, 1999). Al-Kofahi and Al-Tarawneh analyzed a total of 7 silver dirhams belonging to the Ayoubian era (564–648 AH) and 9 coins belonging to the Mamalik period (648–865 AH) by the XRF method. Their results showed that the amount of silver in the Ayoubian coins was between 8% and 52%, while a content of 12% to 55% silver existed in the coins belonging to the Mamalik era. The amount of copper in the coins belonging to the Ayoubian and Mamalik periods varied from 5% to 79%, and the high levels of copper in these coins has been attributed to the counterfeiting that took place in some mints (Al-Kofahi, Al-Tarawneh, 2000). In other study, Ben Abdelouaheda analyzed a collection of 28 silver coins belonging to the Islamic period (from the 7 th to the 15 th century) via the PIXE method. His results showed that coins pertaining to the Umayyad and Abbasid periods enjoyed a high carat; however, the coins belonging to the Fatimid and Zirid periods did not enjoy a good carat since their silver content was signifcantly reduced and their copper content increased. This issue has been attributed to the dominant economic conditions and the surveillance system of these states (Ben Abdelouaheda et al. , 2010).