In a remarkable archaeological discovery, a trove of 2,000-year-old copper coins has been unearthed from the ruins of a Buddhist shrine in Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan. This significant find sheds light on the region’s rich cultural heritage and offers valuable insights into the Kushan Empire, a powerful empire that flourished in South Asia during the first and second centuries AD.
The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists led by Sheikh Javed Ali Sindhi, who were conducting excavations following the collapse of a wall at the Mohenjo Daro site. The ancient coins, believed to date back to the Kushan era, were found hidden within the stupa, a type of Buddhist shrine typically used for housing relics or commemorating important events.
The coins, now bearing a greenish patina due to copper’s natural reaction to air, have accumulated into a circular mass, weighing roughly 5.5 kg. Preliminary estimates suggest the hoard may contain between 1,000 and 1,500 individual coins. Some coins were also found scattered outside the main mass.
Experts believe that the coins depict standing figures, possibly representing Kushan kings, on their exterior faces. This aligns with the historical context of the Kushan Empire, which was known for its patronage of Buddhism and the issuance of coins bearing the images of its rulers.
This remarkable discovery marks the first time artifacts have been excavated from the stupa ruins since 1931, when British archaeologist Ernest Mackay unearthed over 1,000 copper coins. Additional coins were found in the 1920s, further solidifying the stupa’s significance as a repository of Kushan-era treasures.
Mohenjo Daro, once the largest settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization, was mysteriously abandoned around 1700 BC, along with other Indus Valley Civilization settlements. The exact reasons for the civilization’s decline remain an enigma, but the discovery of these ancient coins provides valuable clues about the region’s economic and cultural dynamics during the Kushan era.
The meticulous cleaning and analysis of the coins will undoubtedly yield further insights into the Kushan Empire’s minting practices, trade networks, and the economic landscape of ancient Pakistan. This remarkable discovery serves as a testament to the enduring power of archaeology to unravel the mysteries of the past and illuminate the rich tapestry of human history.