REPORT: Ancient Chinese Coin Found In Rural English Village

Hampshire Cultural Trust

John Ruane Contributor
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A Chinese coin dating back to the 11th century was discovered in a village in England, indicating possible interaction between Britain and East Asia during that time period.

The 25mm copper-alloy medieval coin believed to date back to the Northern Song dynasty period was unearthed in the village of Hampshire, according to the Independent.

Cambridge University historian Dr. Caitlin Green, says that despite initial doubts by some, it may be a genuine find. This is the second such coin found in England; the first was discovered in Cheshire in 2018.

“The fact that we now have two, rather than one, 11th-century Northern Song dynasty coins from England, both recovered from what seem to be medieval to early modern sites, adds weight to the case for considering them genuinely ancient losses,” Dr. Green wrote in a blog post. Green highlighted the fact that the Northern Song dynasty minted them in such vast numbers that they remained in circulation long after the dynasty ended in the 1120s.

In addition to the first coin found in 2018, Dr. Green writes that several pieces of documentary evidence support interaction between Britain and East Asia in the medieval period.

“Interestingly, this find was also made only around 20 miles away from the only confirmed medieval imported Chinese pottery from England, a sherd of blue and white porcelain from a small cup or bowl that was found in a late fourteenth-century context at Lower Brook Street, Winchester,” wrote Dr. Green. (RELATED: A Lost Monastery Might Be Hiding Beneath An English Bus Station, Archaeologists Say)

Dr. Green went on to say that documentary evidence shows that East Asian travelers were present in Britain and Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries, providing a plausible route for the newly-discovered coin’s arrival in Britain.