In a groundbreaking excavation at the Sosha Village East 03 archaeological site in Maebashi City, Japan, researchers stumbled upon a remarkable discovery – a cache of over 100,000 ancient coins. These coins include the "Ban Liang," China's inaugural unified currency, and others spanning from the 7th to the 13th century. What's particularly intriguing is that they were bundled in groups of around 100 coins, secured with straw cords known as "sashi." It is believed that these coins were hastily concealed underground during a tumultuous period, possibly due to wars and chaos.
This excavation was prompted by the construction of a new factory in the area. The unearthed coins were found in an area approximately 60 centimeters high and one meter wide, with a staggering 1,060 bundles of these sashi clusters. Some bundles contained evidence of 10 sashi, equivalent to roughly a thousand coins, all arranged with traces of rice straw mats. The site, located in Sosha Village, Maebashi City, hints at the existence of significant mansions in the vicinity, given the historical context of the area's name.
Detailed analysis of 334 coins out of the haul revealed an astonishing diversity of 44 different currency types. These coins originated from as far back as China's Western Han Dynasty, extending to the Southern Song Dynasty. The oldest among them, the "Ban Liang," dates back to 175 B.C., with distinct characteristics including a 2.3-centimeter diameter, a 7-millimeter square hole in the center, and a thickness of 1 millimeter, featuring the inscriptions "liang" on the left and "ban" on the right.
The most recently minted coin in this treasure trove hails from 1265, during the Southern Song Dynasty, leading experts to believe that these coins were hidden during the tumultuous Kamakura period (1185-1333). It's important to note that the dating results are preliminary and may be refined through further research.
The archaeological site is part of an area encompassing approximately one kilometer, including the Sosha burial mounds, the San'o Temple Ruins, and the Ueno Kokubunji Temple, indicating the region's prominence as a center of activity from the late Kofun period to the Ritsuryo period.
The extraordinary artifacts from the Sosha Village East 03 site are currently on display at the "Newly Excavated Cultural Artifacts Exhibition 2023" within the Rinkokaku building in Maebashi City's Otemachi district, open to the public until the 12th of this month. Admission is free, and for inquiries, contact the Maebashi City Cultural Heritage Preservation Division at 027-280-6511. Don't miss this unique opportunity to delve into the enigmatic history behind this remarkable find!"