Weight and Value in Pre-Coinage Societies
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This second volume by the same author, on the subject of weight and value in pre-coinage societies1, consists of five parts. Each explores an independent subject, although all five focus on those who owned and used measuring tools in Bronze Age societies in the Aegean and the Orient. Part I presents the framework of the discussion: it deals with the material and symbolic significance of the balance and with the circulation of goods that required measurement and accounting. Part II presents a case study from the Aegean, the settlement of Akrotiri on the island of Thera. Balance pans and balance weights are discussed within their context as are metal items of standard forms and weight values. Part III presents three case studies of the Aegean in connection with the custom of depositing balances and weights in the tombs of their owners. The case studies concern three gold balances from Mycenae, the five sets of bronze pans from Vapheio and the reconstructed balance from Pylos. Part IV examines cultures from the Orient that have yielded comprehensible textual documentation on weight measuring and value estimation. It concentrates on valueadding textile production and acquaints the reader with current debate on problems of money, markets and prices. In Part V, the focus returns to the ancient users of the measuring tools in the settlement of Akrotri and offers an approach to dealing with the domain of the private economy. The interest here centers on the wealth of individuals and the cost of acquiring it, whether this wealth consists of real estate and house equipment, agricultural and animal capital, industrial products, private property in the form of metal, or accumulated merchandise. Textual information from the Orient is used at every step in the research presented in this book. The main aim is to present the material and offer arguments in the hope of provoking further discussion on the matter of personal economics in Late Bronze Age Aegean societies.

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