Help Search for Coins that May Shape Australian History!

September 24, 2013

Coins have been in the news quite a bit this year and one of these stories involved the discovery of 700 year old African coins in northern Australia during World War 2. A few small, bronze coins of the short-lived African sultanate of Kilwa (which was on an island off of the modern day country of Tanzania) were found on a beach by an Australian soldier in 1944. He was manning an off-shore radar station on one of the Wessels Islands which are off the coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia.

In June this year a multi-disciplinary expedition journeyed to the island where the coins were found to conduct a site survey. While they didn't find anything linking the site directly to Kilwa, they did find enough of interest to suggest that ships had been landing on the island since the 1800's at least. Enough to warrant a second expedition to conduct a much more thorough investigation of the island and perhaps an off-shore search to look for wrecks. This expedition is planned for the Australian summer in 2014. And you can help support the expedition or even go along and take part!

The "Past Masters", as they call themselves, have decided to use crowd funding to help finance their expedition. This means you can donate money to help the expedition and depending on how much you help out you'll get some sort of benefit or reward. The Solve the Mystery of Australia's African Coins crowdfunding site is looking for $30,000 of funding. If you donate as little as $10 you'll be personally thanked on the "Past Masters" Facebook page. And if you donate $5,000 you'll get to go along on the expedition! Though we suspect you'll have to pay your own airfares to get to the site where the expedition launches from. Now, while we don't exactly have $5,000 to throw about we can see that those who did would think that $5,000 is a fairly cheap price to pay to go on an expedition that could help write some early Australian history.

We're particularly interested in this expedition because we are lucky enough to be members of the same coin club as the expedition's numismatist, Peter Lane. Peter gave a great presentation at a recent club meeting about the preliminary survey conducted in June and believes that further investigation really is warranted. While we don't expect the expedition to find that African seafarers found Australia in the 1300's it's still a tantalising mystery that should be resolved. And you can take part in helping solve the mystery, for as little as $10! So please head over and donate now and you can pretend (like one of the authors of this blog) that you're Indiana Jones!

Posted by mnemtsas at September 24, 2013 9:20 AM
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