Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an “X” might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia’s history.
Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, plans an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.
The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.
Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands – an uninhabited group of islands off Australia’s north coast – had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland.
While sitting in the sand with his fishing-rod, he discovered a handful of coins in the sand.
He didn’t have a clue where they could come from but pocketed them anyway and later placed them in a tin.
In 1979 he rediscovered his “treasure” and decided to send the coins to a museum to get them identified.
The coins proved to be 1000 years old.
Still not fully realising what treasure he held in his hands, he marked an old colleague’s map with an “X” to remember where he had found them.
The discovery was apparently forgotten again until anthropologist McIntosh got the ball rolling a few months ago.
The coins raise many important questions:
How did 1000-year-old coins end up on a remote beach on an island off the northern coast of Australia?
Archaeologists have long suspected that there may have been early maritime trading routes that linked East Africa, Arabia, India and the Spice Islands even 1,000 years ago.
Or the coins could’ve washed ashore after a shipwreck.
He will also be looking for a secret cave Aboriginal legends talk about.
This cave is supposed to be close to the beach where Isenberg once found the coins and is said to be filled with doubloons and weaponry of an ancient era.
Should McIntosh and his team find what they are looking for, the find might not only be priceless treasure, but relics that could rewrite Australian history.