Weights, Measures, and Tokens

by Mabel Lang and Margaret Crosby

Athenian Agora X
158 pp, 36 pls
9" x 12"
Cloth, ISBN: 978-0-87661-210-1
Publication Date: Nov 1964
Status: Out of Print


The first part of this book deals with weights (14 bronze, 109-111 lead, 28 stone) and measures (75 dry, 28-31 liquid). Although humble objects, the detailed study of these everyday items provides archaeological evidence for substantial changes in weight standards at different times in Athenian history. This reinforces literary evidence for a highly centralized bureaucracy controlling trade and commerce. In the second part of the book, Crosby catalogues and discusses some 900 lead and 46 clay tokens uncovered during the Agora excavations. The bulk of the lead material dates from the Roman period, while all the clay pieces belong to the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries B.C. These tokens served diverse functions. Some were used as admission tickets for festivals and theater performances while others can be related to attendance at lawcourts or receipt of tax payments.