More than two and a half years ago archaeologists on a dig site in Okinawa, Japan unearthed ten pieces of metal. Believing them to be nothing more than round metal pieces belonging to armor, the items were labeled and stored as such amongst various other findings. When Toshio Tsukamoto, an archaeologist with experience at excavation sites in Italy and Egypt, arrived at the castle, he knew right away the “little round things” did not belong to armor.
What had actually been discovered have now been positively identified as Ancient Roman coins, some dating all the way back to the 3rd and 4th Century. With ten in total, four have been noted to be from the Roman Empire, while a fifth coin was struck with the date 1687; a date which traces back to the Ottoman Empire. Experts are still busy examining the remainder.
The site, where the coins were recovered, is leaving experts baffled, however. The now looming question is how on earth did these coins end up 1 meter below the surface at the medieval castle, Katsuren in Okinawa?
The castle was abandoned in 1458 and has been a tourist attraction, and most recently a UNESCO world heritage site. The inhabitants of the castle are noted to have trade relations with China and other neighboring nations during the 14th and 15th century. The lead experts believe that the coins possibly arrived via Chinese trade routes, who are well known for trading with Western Empires.
However the coins ended up at the site, archaeologists and historians alike are eager to discover how and why they ended up at Katsuren Castle.
The coins will remain on display until November 25th at Uruma City Yonagusuku Historical Museum.
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