Archaeologists have uncovered a massive hoard of over 100,000 ancient coins, dating back more than 2,000 years. The remarkable find, reported by various sources including the national newspaper Asahi Shimbun, occurred on November 3rd during excavations for a planned factory in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, central Japan.
The excavation team, investigating an area approximately 60 centimeters high and one meter wide, unearthed 1,060 bundles of coins, each containing around 100 pieces, meticulously tied together with straw ropes.
Among the coins discovered were Ban Liang bronze coins dating back to 175 BCE, considered China’s first unified currency, and specimens ranging to the year 1265 CE. The oldest coin, an engraved Ban Liang with a distinctive hole in its center, reflects the profound historical connections between the two regions. Initial examinations of 334 coins revealed a staggering diversity, representing at least 44 different years.
The site’s proximity to opulent residences of influential individuals from medieval Japan suggests a strategic and hurried burial of the coins, possibly as a precaution against impending conflict. The significance of the find extends beyond the sheer number of coins; it sheds light on the extensive trade relations between China and Japan during the period from 600 to 1500 CE.
Luigi La Rocca, a Sardinian archaeology department official, emphasized the importance of the discovery in showcasing the richness and significance of the archaeological heritage preserved beneath the Mediterranean Sea. He stated, “The treasure found in the waters off Arzachena represents one of the most important coin discoveries in recent years.”
The artifacts from this exceptional discovery are currently showcased at the “Newly Excavated Cultural Artifacts Exhibition 2023” in Maebashi City’s Otemachi district. The exhibition, open to the public until the 12th of this month, offers a unique opportunity to witness these ancient relics.