American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

Peter van Alfen, Margaret Thompson Associate Curator of Greek Coins

PhD Classical Philology, University of Texas at Austin; M.A. Anthropology (Nautical Archaeology), Texas A&M University; Honors BA Classical Philology, University of Utah

Curriculum Vitae

As an economic historian, I work on problems of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern monetary, fiscal and trade systems spanning the Late Bronze Age to the early Byzantine period. I have published on a variety of topics including Mycenaean administration, Athenian public finance and coinage, market regulations, Arabian monetization, and Late Roman amphoras. In the field, I have participated in excavations of ancient shipwrecks with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology including the Uluburun (c. 1320 BCE), Tektas Burnu (5th c. BCE), and Bozburun (9th c. CE) wrecks. With Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr. and Justin Leidwanger, I am working on a long-term study of Late Roman amphora standardization (types LRA 1, 2 and 13), based on material raised from the early 7th c. CE Yassiada shipwreck. My current book project, Political Economies of Archaic Coinage, explores the relationships between coinage, political structures and state formation in the 6th c. BCE.

My interests also extend to European and US medallic art of the 15th-21st centuries. While overseeing this portion of the ANS collection, I have curated exhibitions and published on medals relating to the Olympics, World Fairs, Ophthalmology, Optics, and the First World War.

As director of the Society's Eric P. Newman Summer Graduate Seminar. I welcome those interested in learning more about this intensive eight week introductory course to contact me directly. On occasion I teach a course on ancient economies as an adjunct professor in the Classics Department at New York University.

Recently I have been awarded Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship (Harvard University).

Selected Publications:

For pdfs of selected articles and chapters see this page.

Co-author with Jay Galst. 2013. Ophthalmologia in Nummis. Hirschberg History of Ophthalmology, Supplement XIIIa-b. J.P. Wayenborgh Verlag and American Numismatic Society.

Co-editor with Martin Huth. 2010. Coinage of the Caravan Kingdoms—Studies in Ancient Arabian Monetization. (Numismatic Studies 25). Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review: 2012, vol 5.55

Editor. 2006. Agoranomia: studies in money and exchange presented to John H. Kroll (New York: American Numismatic Society).
Reviews: Bryn Mawr Classical Review:; Mouseion 2007, vol. 7.2: 174–178.

Author. 2004. A simple souvenir: coins and medals of the Olympic games (New York: American Numismatic Society).
Reviews: Olympika 13 (2004): 99–102; Greece & Rome (2005) 53.01: 14.
Award: Numismatic Literary Guild, 2005.