ISSN: 1309-8780
e-ISSN: 2822-3985

E. Emine Naza Dönmez

İstanbul University, Faculty of Letters, Art History Department, Turkish and Islamic Art Department, 34134-İstanbul/TÜRKİYE

Keywords: German Tokens, Amasya, Harşena Fortress, Maidens Palace, Nuremberg.


Amasya, Harşena Fortress which rises from the banks of Yeşilırmak is comprised of three parts. From top to bottom, Harşena Fortress which is also called the upper fortress, the area in front of the rock-cut King Tombs which was called the Maidens’ Palace at the middle and the area called the Lower Palace, today’s Hatuniye District, at the bottom. The 2009-2010 excavations were done in an area north of Harşena Fortress’ cannon tower; excavation seasons of 2011-2013 were done in the area, front of the Royal Tombs in Maidens’ Palace area; excavations of 2017-2019 in Harşena Fortress were done in the area named as the Mosque Area, located at the entrance of the castle, South of the Watchtower.

Coin-like tokens which were known from the ancient-time have been utilized for many different reasons. Coins are metallic money which were minted by the political authority, that were used in the trade and had economic value. When the Roman numerical system has been abandoned for the Arabic numerals the usage of tokens for calculation in Europe has also been abandoned. After 16th century tokens were utilized as some type of medal. City of Nuremberg in Germany had been the main producer of tokens. After 17th century tokens got smaller and turned into the game chips.

To this day 8 German tokens were uncovered in the excavations in Amasya, Harşena Fortress and Maidens’ Palace. Amasya had always been a trade hub in the Ottoman period. The silk produced in the city had also been a developing trade endeavor in XIX century Amasya. The Germans who settled in the Amasya in this period made contributions to the silk production in the city. Especially this trade with the Germans can explain the German tokens found in the Amasya Fortress.


I would like to thank the Turkish Historical Society and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums for supporting our excavations. I would also like to extend my thanks to Burçin Adısönmez, Tolga Aydın and Dr. Dila Özgümüş who helped me with this article.