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Coins In The Fountain: Finding Meaning in Everyday Votive Offerings

Author(s): Marjorie Akin

Year: 2017

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There is a very long history of people throwing valuable objects into bodies of water or fountains, and the practice has long been widespread.  Today children ask for, and are often given, small-denomination coins to "make a wish" by tossing them into a fountain or pool.   What are the origins and history of this behavior, and what beliefs and social motivations lie behind it, from ancient times to today?  The social and physical formation processes that affect these "votive offerings" will be discussed.  Surprising patterns of behavior related to coin- tossing and their meaning for archaeological analysis will be revealed. 

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Coins In The Fountain: Finding Meaning in Everyday Votive Offerings. Marjorie Akin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435350)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 624

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America