Senior Mike Laposata, history and Arabic studies double major, is a Collections Assistant at the University Museums and has a profound interest in ancient coins. 

For the past semester, Laposata has examined coins from the eastern Mediterranean which stemmed from research for his honors history thesis. For his thesis, Laposata investigated Cyprus’s exertion of economic and military power after the fall of Acre in 1291. Working with Matthew Houle, Curator of Museum Collections, and David Hershey, Assistant Collections Manager, Laposata curated an online exhibition for the University Museums.  

The exhibition features 53 coins from the eastern Mediterranean during the 13th and 14th centuries as well as coinage from other cultures and destinations. Laposata said investigating coinage from the time period allowed him to gain a broader understanding of the context in the region.  

“I got lucky that the Lora Robins Gallery has a large selection of coins from this period, and I’ve had a great time learning more about the coinage of the period and examining the evolution and purpose of this monetary system,” Laposata said. 

The exhibition traces the changes in politics and economics in the Mediterranean during two centuries. Laposata said in looking at monetary history, we can learn about the Mediterranean’s turbulent history, particularly through the lens of trade, art, and the portrayal of power. 

The exhibition, “‘A Pound of Whatever Silver He Pleases:’ History and Economy in the Late Medieval Eastern Mediterranean from the Lora Robins Gallery Coin Collection” is on view now until December 31, 2021 on the University Museums' webpage.