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Goa farmer discovers ancient copper coins from Portuguese rule era

A pot of coins buried underneath the ground might sound like the plot of a treasure hunt movie, but for a North Goa farmer, it is reality.

Vishnu Shridhar Joshi, a farmer in Nanoda Bamber village in North Goa found a pot buried in the soil which was full of ancient coins, The Indian Express reported.

While Joshi was clearing weeds at his cashew farm, he found the pot and to his surprise, there were a total of 832 coins, which are believed to be from the 16th or 17th century, when Goa was under Portuguese rule.

Joshi later handed over the coins to state Minister of Archaeology, Subhash Phal Dessai and his team, who will conduct a study to know more about the coins and Goa’s history.

Joshi said, “We brought the vessel home and inside were a large number of coins with symbols and inscriptions. I was not sure what to do. I contacted the village panch and informed government officials. It appears that someone had buried this treasure here.”

Director of the Department of Archaeology, Dr Nilesh Fal Dessai said that the coins have alphabets and symbols and he believes that they could be from the early years of Portuguese rule.

“On some coins, one side has a cross and an alphabet, which could be interpreted as the initials of a king, under whose kingdom the coins may have been circulated,” he said.

He added that there is no documentation about the type of currency that was used during those times, as there were no banks at the time. He also mentioned that they are unsure if they are copper coins and will be able to identify the metal composition only after they are cleaned.

He also said that “During Old Conquests, Tiswadi, Bardez and Salcete talukas in Goa were under Portuguese rule. This discovery of coins from Sattari taluka is significant since it offers evidence of trade and economic relations during that period.”

“After a thorough examination, the coins would be placed in the state museum, specifying the description of the location and crediting the person who found it,” Dessai said.

(Published 11 November 2023, 09:50 IST)

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