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Greek coins made out of clay

Greek coins project: Athenian coins, made by 6th graders at Laurelhurst School, Portland

How minters made Greek coins

Each Greek city made its own silver coins, and they made them to look different from each other so you could know right away which city the coins were from. Greek minters made coins by putting a blank coin on a metal stand and setting a metal punch (like a stick as big around as one coin) on top that had the image carved into it, and then hitting the metal punch with a hammer to drive it into the coin and transfer the image.

Silver coin from Athens with an owl on it

Athenian coin with Athena’s owl on it.

A Greek coins project

You can make your own Greek coins out of clay. These Athenian coins have the owl of Athena on them, and they say “ATHE” in Greek letters. These were made by laying thin strips of clay on top of the coin, but you could also try carving a punch out of wood and using that to make the image.

More about Greek coins


* Olympic games
* Play reading
* Vase-painting

Bibliography and further reading for Ancient Greek projects:

Hands-On Ancient People, Volume 2 : Art Activities about Minoans, Mycenaeans, Trojans, Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans (2004) For kids ages 9-12.

Ancient Greece!: 40 Hands-On Activities to Experience This Wondrous Age (Kaleidoscope Kids), by Avery Hart, Paul Mantell, and Michael P. Kline (1999). Gives ideas to get kids thinking, rather than step-by-step instructions.

More about Ancient Greece
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