New record set in China for oldest known coin-making facility

Spatial distribution of minting remains in the foundry’s excavation area: red dot: deposit with clay molds, green dots: deposits with fragments or finished spade coins (drone photo by Z. Qu; figure courtesy of H. Zhao). Credit: DOI:10.15184/aqy.2021.94Researchers from Zhengzhou University and the Modern Analysis and Computer Center at Zhengzhou University and Peking University found evidence that suggests the existence of the oldest coin-mining operation ever discovered. The group published their paper on the Cambridge University website Antiquity. It describes the discovery and analysis of coins and minting moulds at a dig site located in Henan Province, China.Researchers have held that coins were first used as currency in Turkey or Greece. The earliest date for coins found in modern Turkey was 630 B.C. The dating methods used to date them have led to some debate about their age. Researchers discovered coins in China at the same place as a minting plant. This left behind ashes that could have been used to carbon date the minting operation.They were discovered at the site known as Guanzhuang (an ancient city founded in 800 B.C.). Researchers found numerous bronze spade-shaped coins in various shapes and clay molds used to make them. The ashes from the metal melting fires were approximately 2,600 years old according to testing. This would indicate that the facility was used for making coins as far back as 550 B.C. It is the oldest known facility for coin-making ever discovered.Credit: Antiquity (2021). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.94.Credit: Antiquity (2021). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.94.Researchers believe the facility was used for tools, weapons, and other purposes as early as 770 B.C. The people of the area took another century to develop their technology and create coins. They also noted that historians are still not able to agree on the reasons for creating currency in the form coins. Some believe it made it easier to buy and sell things, while others think it was a way for governments collect taxes.Credit: Antiquity (2021). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.94.Credit: Antiquity (2021). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.94.Continue exploring the Hoard of Roman Coins for safer crossingAdditional information: Hao Zhao and colleagues, Radiocarbon dating an early minting location: the emergence standardised coinage for China, Antiquity (2021). Information from the Journal: Antiquity Hao Zhao and colleagues, Radiocarbon-dating a early minting site, the emergence standardised coinage for China (2021). DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2021.94.2021 Science X Network