Ancient Chinese Coins Found in Lasem

Thousands of ancient Chinese coins, dated back from Tang (600-960 AD) and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), are found in Gowak Village, Lasem District, Rembang Regency, Central Java Province.

It was a regular Friday morning, on October 28, 2016. Samadi walked to his orchad, about one kilometre from his house. He is a farmer, who cultivates eggplants in his farmland. Apparently, that day was not an ordinary day. Around 10.00 am, he accidentally found a hidden treasure. Numerous ancient Chinese coins from 11th century were found in the land he was toiling.

The news about his finding spreads fast, especially in social media. I learned about it from my Facebook timeline one day after the finding. I was curious so I decided to look for Samadi in hopes of being able to see the coins with my own eyes.

When I arrived at Samadi’s house, located in Gowok village, near Dewi Indu tomb, I was greeted by a woman. The fair skinned, ever smiling lady introduced herself as Wedok Yanik or Bu Yanik, the wife of Samadi. She also told me that she is a good cook, and local dish called Sayur Lompong is her speciality. Unfortunately, Samadi was not home at that moment.

After introducing myself and my intention, I asked her about the ancient coins. Without hestitation she called her son, whom I forgot the name, to bring the coins. Bu Yanik told me while showing the coins, “Samadi, my husband, was planting eggplants in our farmland. His hoe stuck something hard, like a piece of stone. Later he found out that it was strings of coins that already ossified. After coming home he told me that he had found a hidden treasure.”

ancient Chinese coins in Lasem
Thousands of ancient Chinese coins, dated back from Tang (600-960 AD) and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), found in Gowak Village, Lasem.

When the coins were excavated they stuck together like a piece of stone. After cleaning, the original shape of the coins could be seen. The coin’s diameter is about 2 cm. There is a four-square hole, 2 mm in length,  in the centre. There are 3,613 pieces in total.

Chinese writings could also be seen on the ancient coins. It convinces me that those coins are from China, probably from Tang and Song merchants who visited Lasem.

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