900 year old African coins were found of the coast of Australia, making them the oldest foreign artefacts found on the continent, predating the Europeans by centuries.

Unravelling the mystery of Arnhem Land’s ancient African coins

An AG Society-sponsored expedition set out in July 2013 to solve the mystery of 12th Century coins found in the NT.

Image credit: Courtesy Powerhouse Museum

MYSTERY AND MAGIC still inhabit the wild places. Few are wilder than the Northern Territory’s Wessel Islands, which arch out into the Arafura Sea like a reaper’s scythe, harvesting flotsam from Indonesia’s fabled Maluku, or ‘Spice’, Islands, just a few days’ sail to the north-west. And no mystery is more beguiling than the 900-year-old coins from a medieval African sultanate, found on one of the archipelago’s beaches during WWII by RAAF serviceman Morry Isenberg.

By far the oldest foreign artefacts ever found in Australia, the Kilwa sultanate coins are now held at the Powerh… Continue Reading (11 minute read)

11 thoughts on “900 year old African coins were found of the coast of Australia, making them the oldest foreign artefacts found on the continent, predating the Europeans by centuries.”

  1. ThisWorldOfLiars

    The article suggests they were most likely brought by Europeans.

    First thing you do when you arrive at a new country is change your money for theirs, or trade goods for money, so it makes sense that Europeans that visited Africa left with African coins.

  2. NotTheBelt

    Africoins? Europennies? Come on, other countries! If we Canadians can have fun and goofy names for our coins, so can you!

  3. OneSidedDice

    Perhaps they were carried there by a swallow.

  4. ldunord

    If I ever go to the moon or Mars, I am totally taking a random assortment of old coins and burying them in a chest somewhere. Hundreds of years later historians will be like “wtf?!?? Why are there coins from 1859 when the first explorers didn’t come until the 21st century??”

  5. doryphorus99

    The European settlers landing in Australia were dismayed to learn that the currency exchanges only took bills, no coins.

  6. blacksad1

    Experts speculate that this is the first case of “showing out, making it rain on them hoes, and then bouncing”.

  7. smolbur

    Hmmm it’s almost like those Europeans who colonised Australia came from a continent that’s really close to Africa and brought some African things with them…..

  8. tiram001

    I get the feeling they were once in the collection of someone there. I doubt Africans just went to Australia.

  9. Av3ngedAngel

    They were found underwater, so how unlikely is it that someone say even a hundred years ago could have lost them? Maybe a collector who was travelling.

  10. oscarddt

    They said “keep the change…”

  11. nylaleigh

    Wouldn’t there be Asian artifacts.

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