Scientist's Quest: Unlock Secret of Ancient Coins
He's returning to islands where WWII soldier found 1K-year-old coins
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 20, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Updated May 20, 2013 7:35 AM CDT
An Australian scientist is setting out to discover the secrets of some ancient coins.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Ancient coins, a map with an "X," a secret cave: It sounds like something out of a kid's book. Instead, it's an Australian professor's archaeological quest. During World War II, a soldier stationed on the Wessel Islands off northern Australia found several mysterious coins in the sand. Years later, a museum pegged their age at about 1,000 years old, the Age reports. That's when the former soldier marked the location of his discovery on a map with an "X."

Now, Aussie anthropologist Ian McIntosh wants to know more. The coins are from between 900 and 1300 AD and apparently come from an African island off Tanzania; they're among the first ever made in sub-Saharan Africa, McIntosh says, and they suggest foreign explorers could have arrived in Australia far earlier than previously believed. During a Wessel Islands trip in July, McIntosh will investigate the X-ed location—and he'll search for a nearby cave mentioned in Aboriginal legends, supposedly filled with coins and weapons.

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Showing 3 of 19 comments
May 20, 2013 6:38 PM CDT
I have always found Australia interesting from a humanitarian point of view, although populated to a large degree by vagrants and criminals, its current populace is the model of decency. Why is that? I wonder if the penal and court systems of Old England where bent on keeping lower paid and lower “class” individuals in their place by excessive “examples” set in the court house? I have a friend that says her grandfather was sent to Australia for owing the equivalent of $50.00 in debt he could not pay! I think Australia is a fine example of what humanity can become; better than we were!
May 20, 2013 2:15 PM CDT
Great stuff. Strange though; five coins came from the Kilwa Sultanate, dated to 900s to 1300s. That's where the Swahili language originated. Some other coins from the Dutch East India Company, one back to 1690.
May 20, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
Is the Author having the sheer unadulterated temerity, to actually suggest that it was not the British, who discovvered & initially emnslaved the Aboriginal occupants of this Continent, prior to populating it with the dregs of British Society & their brutal captors?