Researchers have recently discovered ancient Roman coins in the ruins of Katsuren castle in Japan
Archeologists are baffled by the strange discovery of ancient Roman coins in the ruins of a Japanese castle. The coins reportedly date back to 300 to 400 years and were excavated from the ruins of Katsuren castle in Okinawa prefecture.
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Researchers have been working at Katsuren castle - a UNESCO world heritage site – since 2013 but they did not find the coins until recently. Initially, the coins were suspected of being fake but further analysis confirmed that were original artifacts.
"I had come to analyze artifacts like Japanese samurai armor that had been found there when I spotted the coins," said Toshio Tsukamoto, a researcher from Gangoji temple cultural properties department and discoverer of coins told CNN.
“I had been on excavation sites in Egypt and Italy and had seen a lot of Roman coins before, so I recognized them immediately.”
A total of ten bronze and copper coins have been recovered from the ruined Japanese castle. The four copper coins are believed to date back to Roman Empire from the third to fourth centuries and it is the first time when coins from Roman Empire have been discovered in Japan, a region thousands of kilometers away from where they were crafted and used.
Each coin measures 1.6 to 2 cm in diameter and was too blur to recognize. X-ray analysis revealed that coins possibly have had an image of Emperor Constantine I and soldier holding a spear, according to Japan Times. But researchers are still uncertain how those coins reached to the site as there is no previous evidence relating Katsuren castle with Roman Empire.
"We don't think that there is a direct link between the Roman Empire and Katsuren castle, but the discovery confirms how this region had trade relations with the rest of Asia.” Masaki Yokou, member of The Uruma Board of Education which announced the discovery on Monday said.
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Katsuren castle was built on the top of a large hill and existed until mid-15th century and. The ruins of Katsuren Castle were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 as part of Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, a group of ancient monuments located in the Okinawa Prefecture.