A massive hoard of 1.5 tons of bronze coins dating to the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties has been unearthed in the village of Shuangdun in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. The coins were strong together with straw ropes and arranged in tidy stacks.
The uncovered coins were well-preserved, and most of them had clear inscriptions, suggesting important value for further research.
In ancient China, such hoards were often buried in the ground so as to preserve precious porcelain, coins, metal tools, and other valuables, said the researchers.
Seventy wells were also found around the coin hoard, which was near the battle frontline of the Song and Jin troops, making the researchers wonder whether the excavation site belonged to a hutted camp.
Most of the coins in the hoard are from the Song dynasty wens. Bronze wens were the common currency of the period until a severe copper shortage forced the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) to issue coins of lower quality and value. Iron was hard to mint and rusted too easily once in circulation. Due to the scarcity of bronze coinage, the government was forced to cut military wages in half in 1161, ultimately leading to the emergence of paper money. In 1170, the state began to require that half of all taxes be paid with Huizi paper currency stepped into the breach.