Mysterious Roman coins have been unearthed in Japan, thousands and thousands of miles away from the Roman Empire.
What archaeologists first thought to be a hoax, turned out to be a very exciting, yet baffling, discovery. Thousands of miles away from the edges of the Roman Empire, in the ruins of an ancient castle in Japan, archaeologists found Roman coins.
During excavations of the ruins of the Katsuren Castle on Okinawa Island in Japan, four copper Roman coins dating back to 400 AD were found, but no one knows how they made it there.
Using x-ray analysis to decipher the eroded coins, they were found to have the image of Emperor Constantine I imprinted on them. Since 2013 when the excavation first began, researchers have also found six coins that they believe to date back to the Ottoman Empire, but are by far newer than the Roman coins, around the late 17th century.
The announcement was made by the Urama Board of Education, who are still trying to find evidence to how the coins reached the Japanese island. Okinawa and the castle have been known to be an ancient center for trade, thriving between the 14th and 16th centuries, however, mainly between China and other Asian countries. But nothing has ever suggested that trade was happening with Europe on the island, before the discovery of the coins.
The ruins of the Katsuren castle were registered as World Heritage sites in 2000 as a part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
The discovery is the first of Roman relics in Japan ever, and suggests unknown history between Japan and the Western World.