Archaeologists in Pakistan have uncovered a fascinating cache of 2000-year-old copper coins within the remains of a Buddhist shrine at the historic site of Mohenjo Daro. Believed to date back to the Kushan Empire, these coins were discovered during excavations led by archaeologist Sheikh Javed Ali Sindhi, following the collapse of a wall at Mohenjo Daro. The Buddhist shrine, also known as a stupa, stands within the ancient remnants of Mohenjo Daro, a site that traces its origins to around 2600 BC in southeast Pakistan.
The team, under the supervision of Director of Archaeology Syed Shakir Shah, made the find, which is considered a significant discovery as it sheds light on the historical and cultural context of the Kushan Empire. The stupa was constructed on the ruins of Mohenjo Daro about 1600 years after its initial decline, as explained by Sheikh Javed Ali Sindhi. The coins, estimated to number between 1,000 and 1,500, are believed to have accumulated into a circular mass weighing approximately 5.5 kg due to decades of burial, though some were found independently.
Due to exposure to air, the copper coins have acquired a greenish tint, and they will undergo careful cleaning at the archaeological laboratory. Some of the exterior coins feature standing figures thought to represent Kushan kings, providing valuable insights into the art and iconography of the era. This discovery marks the first time artifacts have been excavated from the stupa at Mohenjo Daro since 1931 when British archaeologist Ernest Mackay unearthed over 1,000 copper coins. Additional coins were found in the 1920s.
Mohenjo Daro, once the largest settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization, was mysteriously abandoned around 1700 BC, along with other settlements of the same civilization. The exact reasons for the decline of this ancient civilization remain a puzzle for historians, making every new discovery a potential key to unraveling the mysteries of the past.