The world’s oldest coin mint discovered in Central China
Published: Aug 09, 2021 06:54 PM
Photo: Snapshot of Red Star News

Photo: Snapshot of Red Star News

Chinese archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest coin mint in Xingyang, Central China’s Henan Province, according to Chinese media reports on Monday.

 Zhao Hao, an associate professor at the Historical Department at Zhengzhou University, said in an interview that the coin mint dates back to 640BC to 550BC, China’s Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC), Red Star News, a news outlet based in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, reported on Wednesday.

According to Zhao, evacuation work at the site was carried out from 2017 to 2018. During this time, archaeologists discovered two bronze spade coins and more than 60 pottery molds used for coining. 

“The discovery of the coins is not surprising, but the discovery of a coin mint is truly exciting as it shows the existence of a very old coin workshop,” said Zhao. 

“Coins were used in trade and can be found in many places, but during the Spring and Autumn Period when metal currencies were just beginning to become popular, the number of mints was obviously extremely limited,” he added.

China currently has discovered three coin mints from the Spring and Autumn Period. But Zhao pointed out that since the discovery and excavation of the two previous coin mints took place during a time when the archaeology field was not as advanced, archaeologists at the time were not able to use carbon dating technology to accurately date the discoveries, which delayed the confirmation of “the world’s earliest coin mint.”

“I want to emphasize that these coins at the Guanzhuang site are not the oldest coins found in the world. The oldest coins are the metal coins found in the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey,” Zhao said. 

However, he said that since no coin mint has been found in the city of Ephesus, the coin mint at the Guanzhuang site in the Spring and Autumn Period is the oldest coin mint in the world, which has been backed up by carbon dating. 

“This discovery also shows that China has an important position in the history of early currency development in the world,” said Zhao. 

Zhao co-published his team’s findings in magazine Antiquity on Friday. 

Global Times