Investigation of properties of coins in Ottoman Empire between 1828-1922

İnsel M. A., Çelik S. E., Altın E. S., Ergül O., Saraç H.

International Symposium on Archaeometry, Kalamata, Greece, 15 - 21 May 2016, pp.296

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Kalamata
  • Country: Greece
  • Page Numbers: pp.296
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


An economical shift has started to arise in the world with the geographical discoveries, political reforms and scientific improvements in the Europe after the 16th century. Discovery of silver mines in America caused a substantial inflation, new trade routes were regulated between Asia and Europe, idea of nationalism was spread from France - which considerably affected the choice of commerce of people, industrial revolution caused a sudden increase in the rate of production etc. All these reasons caused a great financial alteration around the world. 

At the same era, with these advances in the west, the steady deterioration of Ottoman Empire began. In order to deal with the new global economic circumstances, Sultans of 19th century tried to make some reforms to regain the power the empire once held. One of the most important steps was to change the metal composition of coins. 

In an archaeometallurgical point of view, there are only a few studies carried out in this field.  In a way, the lack of database in this matter limits various further research options. Therefore, this study represents the metal composition of coins which has been used between 1828-1922, that has been known as “Decline and Modernization of Ottoman Empire” (1828-1908), “Defeat and Dissolution of Ottoman Empire” (1908-1922) and indicates the role of silver metal in coins. Even though there were rare examples of coins made of high percentages of gold or copper, a large number of them were made of mostly silver, and mainly used by the merchants at that time. This superficial observation of the study alone holds the potential to give some answers to the question of “Why the geographic discoveries affected Ottoman Empire?” As conclusion, this study aims to fill an important gap on the late Ottoman numismatics by creating a compositional analysis and resulting this in a statistical way.