Dig at Japanese Castle Unearths Roman Coins

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October 1, 2016

Archaeologists in Japan have found in the ruins of a Japanese castle some coins minted in Ancient Rome.

The 10 coins are bronze and copper, and the oldest dates to the 4th or 5th Century A.D. The coins were found on one of the Ryukyu Islands, near Okinawa, in the ruins of Katsuren, a medieval castle that has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site and as a Designated Historial Monument by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs.

The island is home to several U.S. military bases, so the archaeologists thought at first that they had found some pedestrian coins dropped by U.S. soldiers. But further investigation revealed Roman letters and illustrations of a Roman soldier holding a spear. Further X-ray scanning revealed that some of the coins showed the profile of Constantine the Great, who was emperor of Rome in the 4th Century.

It is the first find of Roman coins in Japanese territory.

Other coins found in the dig date to the Ottoman Empire, in the 17th Century.

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