What Was Used in Ancient Times Instead of Money?

Money has been an essential part of our lives for centuries. It’s hard to imagine a time when people didn’t use it for trade and commerce.

However, in ancient times, people used various commodities and objects as a medium of exchange instead of money. Let’s explore some of these items that were used in place of money.

Barter System

One of the earliest forms of trade was through the barter system. In this system, people exchanged goods and services directly without using any medium of exchange like money. For example, if a farmer needed clothes, he would exchange his farm produce with a tailor who could sew clothes for him.


In many ancient civilizations, cattle were used as a form of currency. Cattle were valuable because they provided food, milk, and transportation. In some societies, the value of cattle was so high that it was considered a unit of measurement for other commodities.


Shells were also used as a form of currency in many ancient cultures. Cowrie shells were particularly popular in Africa and Asia because they were rare and beautiful. They were also easy to transport and could be stored for long periods without spoiling.


Coins have been around for thousands of years and have been used as a medium of exchange since ancient times. The first coins were made from precious metals like gold and silver and had the value stamped on them. Coins made trade much easier because they were portable, durable, and standardized.


In conclusion, money has not always been the only medium of exchange used by humans throughout history. From bartering goods to using shells or cattle as currency to eventually creating coins made from precious metals – humanity has come a long way in terms of facilitating trade between individuals or communities around the world. We can learn a lot from the creative ways ancient civilizations handled their economies and how they overcame the challenges of trade.