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Coins Dating Back from Times of Alexander the Great, Philip II Uncovered in Demir Kapija


The team which has  been exploring the archaeological site Marko's Tower, at the village Koresnica near Demir Kapija, discovered a silver coin from the time of Alexander III of Macedon. About 50 coins, including the silver coin, have been discovered at this archaeological site during the new explorations and they date back to early antiquity, late antiquity and the middle ages.

Explorations are being carried out within the frameworks of a major project aimed at creating an Archaeological Cadastre in Macedonia. The project's managing director is Vladimir Atanasov. Under the organization of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office and  the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia, explorers are intensively working at the archaeological site in Demir Kapija lately.

As Atanasov pointed out, during explorations by surface recognition, the team of the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia uncovered, so far, around 50 coins dating back from mainly three time periods -early antiquity, late antiquity and the middle ages.

"The coins that have attracted the most attention are the ones from the early antiquity period, So far, we have uncovered 26 such coins, mainly in the western sector of the site. Part of the coins used to belong to Macedonian kings from the first Macedonian royal house of Argead, i.e. to kings Alexander I, Philip II, Alexander II and Cassander. Most of the coins date back from the time of Demetrius I Poliorcetes, the first king of the second Macedonian ruling house of the Antigonid dynasty. One coin dating back from the time of king Lysimachus or Lisimah has also been discovered", Atanasov said.

According to the findings, it can be concluded that the site was a powerful military base for controlling the Demir Kapija canyon.

"If we add the coins and the findings of Skopje's Faculty of Philosophy into the equation, i.e. the findings on King Amyntas, Philip II, Cassander and Demetrius I Poliorcetes, as well as the remnants from the monumental antique Macedonian castle built out of massive stone blocks inside the fortress by an opus isodomum technique, and the recovery of the tetradrachm of the Paeonian king Patraus, we can safely conclude that the Macedonian Argead dynasty formed a strong military base in this area in order to control the Demir Kapija canyon. This base, as we can assess from the coin findings, was active until the start of the 3rd century BC in its attempts to halt Celtic efforts for breaking through to the south", Atanasov said.

Atanasov expects the discovery of more coins from the time of Alexander of Macedon.

"We have also uncovered a silver coin from the time of Alexander III of Macedon. Currently, it is the only recovered coin from that time, but hopefully not the last, judging from the diversity of the coins that were found", Atanasov pointed out.

According to him, the lack of uncovered coins from the time of Antigonus Gonatas, Philip V and Perseus, points to the fact that in the second half of the 3rd century AD and the 2nd century AD, the activities and attention of these kings were relocated in more northern parts of the Macedonian territory. Explorations will continue intensively for another two weeks in this area.

Marko's Tower, located near village Koresnica in Demir Kapija, is one of the most challenging sites for archaeologists. Over the last 30 days, the north-eastern part of the fortress was explored, and many findings were uncovered, including coins dating back from times of several Macedonian kings.

This archaeological site bonds together several different time periods, and it is located along a European highway, which means that it has the potential to become a tourist attraction. When the project for its restoration, lighting, presentation finishes, and after a more accessible road to the site is established, the site will be presented to the public.

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