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    Acient Secrets: Mystery Coins

    Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Last Updated 2019-10-25T12:09:00Z
    The initial discovery didn’t elicit much excitement. In 2016, 10 coins turned up during the excavation of an ancient Japanese castle.

    Researchers at the Okinawan site thought that the coins were modern, dirty, one-cent coins from US soldiers, thousands of whom reside on the island chain.

    A good wash revealed the coins to be foreign but ancient and minted sometime between AD 300–400.

    This caused such disbelief that Japanese experts initially suspected that the coins had been hidden as a hoax at Katsuren Castle, a World Heritage Site built during the 13th–14th century.

    After dismissing that idea, the experts scanned the disks and detected Roman figures and letters on the surface.

    The solution isn’t as easy as suggesting a link between the two cultures.

    Archaeologists don’t believe there was direct contact between Katsuren Castle and the Roman Empire, leaving open the questions of why and how the bronze and copper coins ended up in Okinawa.

    East Asian merchants didn’t use Western money, either.


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