The establishment of a monetary basis for the exchange of goods and services, something-for-something, between human beings has always been a firm historical fact in as far as human civilization has been concerned. From the most primitive, to the most advanced, civilizations that have existed on the earth in ancient times, there was invariably some sort of system installed in each of those civilizations that equated the use of money. Bartering, or trading, askanadviser in kind, was probably the earliest form of exchange, such as a pot of corn traded for a necklace or knife. Bartering, however, didn’t establish a standard objective valuation of worth, but was, rather, extremely subjective and based on the whimsical values of the traders. The ancient Sumerian civilization is the oldest human culture that has been discovered and archaeologically excavated. During one of those excavations, in 1986, a Sumerian bronze piece (coin), the oldest coin currency that has, so far, been archaeologically unearthed anywhere has been dated as before 3,000 BC. It was called by the Sumerians a shekel, and on one side of it there was the representation of a sheaf of wheat, and, on the other, the image of Ishtar, the Sumerian goddess of fertility. The discovery of this coin points to the obvious fact this type of bronze coin was, in all probability, used extensively by the Sumerians, and that there are, probably, many more of them to be found through future archaeological excavations.

Coins have been a standard feature of all of the advanced ancient civilizations that followed the Sumerians in the human developmental timeline. All of the various human cultures of the Middle East, which existed and flourished before the birth of Jesus Christ, had developed monetary systems and coins. Most of the coins representing these various civilizations of the Middle East have been discovered, verified, and displayed in museums for people to see and examine. The Holy Bible is regularly used as an historical record of, and guide to, the civilizations predating the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel. Moreover, the ancient monetary system used by Israel was based upon, of all things, the Sumerian shekel, and is fully documented in the Old Testament, in Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Job, Ezekiel, Ezra, and other Old Testament books. The coins used by Israelites to pay for various things were not centrally minted, but were, nonetheless, coins, which were created for use based upon particular weights of gold and silver. The Old Testament is replete in its definition of relationships between biblical units of weighted money. For example, in Exodus 38: 25-26, the relationship between the talent and the shekel is fully defined.

The foregoing account of ancient Hebrew coinage causes the reasonable person take a cautious step back when reading the very dubious “Book of Mormon,” about the system of coinage delineated in the Book of Alma, and realizing that no coins of any type have been discovered in any of the archaeological excavations in Central America or South America, where, supposedly, flourishing cities of Nephites existed. In Alma 11: 3-4, Joseph Smith wrote, For more info please visit these sites:-

“And the judge received for his wages according to his time–a senine of gold for a day, or a senum of silver, which is equal to a senine of gold; and this is according to the law which was given. Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.”

Going a bit further, in verses 5-19 of the same chapter, a very detailed system of gold and silver money, created by Nephite law, is described, and Mormon Church General Authorities, since the advent of the 20th Century, have continually described the units and weights of gold and silver in Alma 11 as specifically coins. Since no Nephite coins have been discovered by archaeologists in Central and South America in order to document the gold and silver objects used as legal tender by the Nephite people, I can see how important it would be for Mormon apologists to insist that the “Book of Mormon” use of the word “pieces,” to describe the individual units or objects made of gold and silver, could not possibly mean coins. This is because modern archaeology and anthropology have determined that the Native Americans of Central, South, and North America did not use coins as a means of money. Yet, in the same way that Joseph Smith arbitrarily used the French word “adieu” in Jacob 7: 27, to mean farewell, he surely must have used the word “pieces,” in Alma 11, to mean what “pieces” meant in the 1828 dictionary that Smith, in all probability, must have used, which was “a coin, or a piece of eight.”