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Presentation of the Centre for Ancient Numismatics

McMaster University and the Department of Classics are pleased to announce the launch of the Centre for Ancient Numismatics (CAN). The CAN creates a platform for hands-on, interactive learning and dynamic research focused on ancient coinage. The study of Greek and Roman coins encompasses the intersection of diverse academic areas including material sciences, economics, and Classical Archaeology, and as it is interdisciplinary by nature, so is the Centre: we are structured to build bridges between these separate fields to create a unique line of inquiry and coordinate projects across campus and with other institutions.

The changing nature of the university and of Humanities in the twenty-first century requires a dynamic academic program that promotes student interaction and collaborative research endeavours. The CAN places the Humanities on the forefront of such endeavours and responds to the expectations of current and future students for experiential learning and opportunities for original inquiry. The CAN also serves another crucial function in the contemporary university: its mission includes returning value to material culture and curatorial skills. Working directly with ancient artefacts, the students make a direct and tangible connection with the past and past culture, and are induced to consider the irreplaceability of archaeological finds and the value they add to our culture today. This direct contact demands the vigilance of the senses and imbues the work with a sense of discovery. It is the antidote to the diminishing capacity to focus that stems from myriad sources of information. The Centre builds platforms that keep central attention on the material and it performs research that maximizes the informational and pedagogical value of ancient coinage. The presentation of research on numismatics crafts a life story of the object that reveals the choices behind its existence: the decision to create, the selection of types, the economic and political need behind the coin, its circulation, archaeological recovery, and preservation until the present day are all considered. Together they provide a microcosm of the ancient world, and The Centre aims to reveal and present that story.