Roman Coins Discovered on Remote Island Baffle Scientists


| LAST UPDATE 04/16/2023

By Stanley Wickens
mystery island Roman coins
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Archaeologists have uncovered a curious mystery surrounding the discovery of two silver coins from the Roman Empire on an uninhabited island in the Baltic Sea. They've recently uncovered not one, but two, silver Roman coins on a desolate island in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The kicker? They have absolutely no idea how they got there.

Johan Rönnby, a researcher at Stockholm's Södertörn University, was part of the team who made the exciting discovery earlier this year. He explained that the treasure was found on a beach of the ancient island of Gotska Sandön, near old fireplaces, using metal detectors. Rönnby and his team are understandably thrilled by the find. "We have this site, but we don't know what it is. But now that we have the coins there, it makes it even more interesting to continue to excavate it," he said excitedly. The Roman Empire had quite the sphere of influence, but how did two of their precious "denarii" coins end up on such a remote island? The coins were both denarii, belonging to Emperor Trajan between A.D. 98 and 117, and a coin from Emperor Antoninus Pius between A.D. 138 and 161. These coins represented a day's labor when they were initially minted, so somebody was likely pretty upset about losing them.

mysterious Roman coins discovery
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Rönnby hypothesized that the coins could have made it there by Norse traders or survivors from a shipwreck; the island is no stranger to tragedy, being littered with dangerous shipwrecks. Another possibility could be a misplaced Roman ship, as the waters around the island were known to be tricky even back then. Despite the possible scenarios, there is no way to confirm how the coins ended up on Gotska Sandön. It could be that the coins have been there for millennia, exchanged from person to person until they were lost in the dirt, waiting for modern-day archaeologists to excavate them.

The island itself is no stranger to intrigue: pirates and seal hunters frequented the area before the government put a stop to the hunting. Before that, lighthouse keepers called the island their home. Whatever the answer turns out to be, we're thoroughly invested in finding out the whole story. The researchers plan to head back to the island later this year to see what else they can uncover.

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