Skip to comments.1000-year-old coins found in Northern Territory may rewrite Australian history
Posted on 05/20/2013 1:31:34 PM PDT by Theoria
REMEMBER when you were taught that Australia was discovered by James Cook in 1770 who promptly declared it "terra nullius" and claimed it for the British throne? Turns out that could be completely and utterly wrong.
Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an "X" might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia's history.
Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, is planning an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.
The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.
Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off Australia's north coast - had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland.
Australian soldier Maurie Isenberg was stationed on one of the islands to man a radar station and spent his spare time fishing on the idyllic beaches. While sitting in the sand with his fishing-rod, he discovered a handful of coins in the sand.
He didn't have a clue where they could come from but pocketed them anyway and later placed them in a tin. In 1979 he rediscovered his "treasure" and decided to send the coins to a museum to get them identified. The coins proved to be 1000 years old.
Still not fully realising what treasure he held in his hands, he marked an old colleague's map with an "X" to remember where he had found them.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.com.au ...
They are African coins from the former Kilwa sultanate, now a World Heritage ruin on an island off Tanzania.
Trade, coins, X marks the spot. Just cool.
I think the real question is how long have they been there? Just because they’re 1000 years old doesn’t mean they were sitting on that beach for 1000 years.
Sure. They could have been one of Zeng He’s collection of stuff via a shipwreck, or a prank, or something else.
They should look down. I here there are short people there.
Cool story, even if it isn’t what they are hoping for, or is even just a hoax.
Thanks for posting the story.
Just because they’re a 1000 years old there’s no telling when they were dropped there. I bet you can get a bunch of old Roman coins, drop them in New York City and claim they were there before whoever landed there first.
Indonesian islands and the Northern part of Papua New Guinea have a mixture of Indonesian and Melanesian/Afro-Australian blood, though the Indonesian language dominates. I wouldn’t be surprised if those on the coast were trading with Northern Australia. It’s not that far by boat, and the peoples are not totally alien - as if a Chinese man met aborigines.
I hope they are backed by a gold standard.
I purchased a lot of shipwreck coins found by diver/fishermen off the coast of Java back in ~ 1965.
The "trove" consisted of a mixture of copper and bronze coins of both Oriental and Dutch origin. Many of the coins were 1 and 2 "duit" Dutch coins bearing the Dutch East India logo ("VOC") on obverse and the denomination and date on the reverse. Most coins were dated 1790 although there were a few 1824s and an 1834.
The Oriental coins i.e., the generic Chinese "cash" design coins with the square in the middle in the lot were from dynasties of the mid 600's through ~ 1500 AD. These were clearly bronze in composition and all the coins cleaned up fairly well after soaking in concentrated Acetic Acid for about a week or two.
These coins were traded regularly in that region for hundreds of years, and little attention was given to dates of coinage as much as it was essential to trade upon the basis of intrinsic trading value of the coins.
The reason I have knowledge of the dates of the Oriental coins is that I presented a couple of them to Chinese business partners as gifts and they were able to translate the inscriptions which indicated the dynasty.
So back to the Ausssie find, I think discoveries like this may be more common than is typically broadcast, but 15 minutes of fame + an opportunity to take a swipe at British imperialism is the kind of a thing some folks are inclined to do.
Chinese coins are occasionally found off of the US, the years vary, the real gems are the donut anchors.
Here is an example found off of Oregon.
Remember this .... if /when California or any other State requires “Micro Stamping” of your Firing Pin ... make damned sure you police the brass for LE at your local shooting range and then Johnny Appleseed it all over the place.
Madagascar was settled from Indonesia. Interesting.
all you white folks, get off our land....now!!!
Thanks. Also very interesting.
5 coins found on a beach? Sure thing.
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I agree —I’m a coin collector and I have coins going back over 2,000 years. If, heaven forbid, a tornado takes my home and levels it, and years from now someone dug up those coins, is that proof that Romans, or Greeks inhabited my portion of Northern Virginia? Nope....
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