An amazing discovery was made in Okinawa, Japan, recently, when 10
ancient coins from the Roman and Ottoman empires were unearthed in the
ruins of a Japanese castle, thousands of miles from their place of origin.
The story was reported on Sept. 27 on CNN.com.
The Katsuren castle has been being excavated since 2013 by a group
of local archaeologists from Uruma city’s Board of Education. Their
team, however, didn’t make the discovery.
Toshio Tsukamoto, a researcher from the Gangoji temple who was
visiting the site, came across the coins.
"I'd come to analyze artifacts like Japanese samurai armor that
had been found there when I spotted the coins," Tsukamoto told
CNN. "I'd been on excavation sites in Egypt and Italy and had
seen a lot of Roman coins before, so I recognized them immediately."
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An X-ray was used to identify the engravings and read what details
It’s been determined that the lone Ottoman coin is from 1687, based
on its inscription, while the Roman pieces date back to roughly 300 to
How did Roman coins end up in Japan?
Masaki Yokou, a spokesperson for Uruma city's Board of Education,
told CNN the discovery is “strange and interesting.”
Yokou said a direct link from Rome to the Katsuren castle is
coins have been discovered all over Europe, but very few have
been found so far away.
This discovery lends some insight into the extent of trade relations
between Europe and Asia at the time. Both Yokou and Tsukamoto said
it's possible the coins ended up at the castle after bouncing around
the network of trade routes that linked West and East.
One of the most powerful empires of all time had coinage in many
regions of Europe and some parts of the Middle East, so determining
exactly where they're from and how they landed at the castle will be a challenge.
Other items found at the castle
In addition to the coins, there were Japanese ceramics and other
household items that would've been used by the castle's inhabitants.
Chinese coins and ceramics that would have be acquired through trade
with China were also among the objects found.