[caption id="attachment_63609" align="aligncenter" width="570"] This Feb. 8, 2013 provided by The Field Museum in Chicago shows a rare, 600-year-old Chinese coin that scientists from Illinois discovered on the Kenyan island of Manda. The museum announced the discovery Wednesday, March 13, 2013, The coin is made of copper and silver and has a square hole in the center so it could be worn on a belt. Scientists say it was issued by Emperor Yongle of China who reigned from 1403-1425 during the Ming Dynasty. (AP Photo/Courtesy The Field Museum, John Weinstein)[/caption]Centuries-Old Chinese Coin Found Off Kenyan Coast
A rare numismatic find has been made in East Africa. A Chinese coin believed to be at least 600 years old has been discovered on an island located off the coast of Kenya.
Officials from the Field Museum in Chicago say that the coin's unearthing is very significant because it may provide proof that Chinese explorers, much like Christopher Columbus, were busy making discoveries on the Continent of Africa as early as the 15th century.
"This finding is significant. We know Africa has always been connected to the rest of the world, but this coin opens a discussion about the relationship between China and Indian Ocean nations," archaeologist Chapurukha M. Kusimba of The Field Museum in Chicago said in a statement.
The newly discovered ancient coin is composed of a mixture of copper and silver, designed with a square opening in its center, possibly to make it easy to string the coin onto a belt for safekeeping.
The unusual discovery was made by a team from the University of Chicago who began digging on the island of Manda in December. The coin is inscribed with the name of Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle and is believed to have been issued between 1403 and 1425.
Scientists from Kenya, Pennsylvania and Ohio also participated in the expedition. They also found human remains and other artifacts predating the coin.
On The Web:
600-year-old Chinese coin found in Kenya