The largest cache of ancient coins ever discovered in China’s western Xinjiang Province has been unearthed in Kucha (库车), the ancient capital of the Qiuci Kingdom (龟兹), according to a recent article published in the Chinese press.
Mr. Chen Wei (陈伟), the Vice Bureau Chief of the Kucha Prefecture Bureau of Cultural Relics, revealed that more than 14,000 coin were recovered which is even larger than the previous record discovery made in 2007.
According to Mr. Chen, his bureau was notified on July 16, 2012 of a large cache of ancient coins found during an excavation at a construction site. He and his team immediately went to the site to remove the large hoard of coins.
The coins included wu zhu (“Five Zhu” 五铢), chiselled rim wu zhu (剪边五铢), huo quan (“Money Coin” 货泉) and da quan wu shi (“Large Coin Fifty” 大泉五十) from the Wang Mang period (王莽 7-23 AD), small bronze qiuci coins without inscriptions (龟兹无文小铜钱) and quici wu zhu coins (龟兹小五铢).
The coins are believed to have been buried sometime during the period between the Eastern Han (东汉) and Wei Jin (魏晋) which would be about 1700 years ago.
The most startling discovery, however, was one specimen of a tai ping bai qian (太平百钱) coin, shown at left, which was cast by the Kingdom of Shu (蜀汉 221-265 AD) during the Three Kingdoms (三国时期 220-280 AD).
According to Mr. Chen, this was the first coin from the Three Kingdoms period ever discovered in Xinjiang.
Mr. Chen stated that the experts are unable to explain how this coin came to be found in Xinjiang. He speculated that perhaps there was some “mysterious contact” at the time. In any case, the experts hope to be able to unravel the mystery after further research.
A large number of pottery shards and fragments of human bones were also discovered so it is possible that the site is actually an ancient graveyard.