A huge number of coins strung into more than 1,000 chains were discovered by construction workers in Maebashi city.

A huge treasure trove of 100,000 ancient coins was unearthed during construction in the central Japanese city of Maebashi, including a rare specimen of the Bantaeng, the first unified currency in Chinese history. This money is thousands of years old, strung into chains of about 100 coins, strung with straw strings and hidden during the chaos of war, Ancient Origins reported on November 13.

The oldest coin in the treasure trove is a half-tael coin dated 175 BC, more than 2,000 years old. The specimen is 2.3 cm in diameter and one millimeter thick, with a 7-millimeter square hole in the middle engraved with the words Ban and Xang. The coin treasure is located in the Sojamachi district, near a medieval Japanese residential area, revealing a method of hiding wealth that the aristocracy often used during times of war.

Authorities in Maebashi found a piece of straw measuring 60 x 100 cm, proving that the coins were covered with straw mats before being buried. From the 334 coins examined, researchers confirmed at least 44 types, with dates ranging from 175 BC to 1265. The majority originated from the Western Han Dynasty to the Southern Song Dynasty. The original Ban Luang coins were issued by emperor Qin Shi Huang around 210 BC. Their use continued into the Western Han Dynasty until being replaced by the Five Enemies coins in 118 BC. The latest coin produced in 1265 proves that this money was buried during the period (1185 – 1333).

Spanning a kilometer, the excavation site was probably centered on Kozuke province during the Kofun period, from the late 3rd to 7th century, which was the predecessor of Gunma province and center of trading activity.

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