A recent article on Science News magazine offers a new, revisionist approach to the origin of money, that is somewhat contrary to what we believe in economics:
That well-worn story gets money all wrong, anthropologists and archaeologists say. “Adam Smith based his ‘creation myth’ of financial systems on ignorance of what actually happened in the past,” says archaeologist Robert Rosenswig of the University at Albany in New York.
Early governments created money to pay off public works debts and to collect taxes […] Bartering had nothing to do with it.
The article is titled “Conflict reigns over the history and origins of money” and is available online.