NPS Archeologists Puzzled by Pre-Columbian Spanish Coin Present in Utah

A hiker close to Lake Powell discovered one thing final summer time that might complicate the historical past of European exploration of the Americas.

Or, possibly it’s only a hoax. Or a misidentified artifact.

Whereas climbing in an space near the Halls Crossing Marina on Lake Powell, a hiker from Colorado noticed two cash mendacity within the filth a bit off the path. At first assuming they have been merely items of trash, he picked them up. When he regarded nearer he realized they seemed to be outdated cash. Very outdated.

The coin on the left is the one which is perhaps as a lot as 700 years outdated. On the correct, the bigger coin matches these made within the 1700s. Photograph: screenshot from KSL.

The hiker researched the cash and realized they match the outline of cash minted tons of of years in the past. One of many cash matched patterns related to Spanish cash produced within the late 17th century. The opposite, smaller coin resembles these made within the 13th century, lengthy earlier than Columbus was even born, not to mention crusing across the Americas.

At that time, the hiker, who needs to stay nameless, introduced the cash to the park service to let their archeologists deliver their vital analysis sources to bear. They’re maintaining the cash below wraps, for probably the most half, as they work to determine simply how outdated they’re and, if certainly are as outdated because it first seems, how on this planet they acquired to Utah.

Radiocarbon relationship will not be sometimes attainable with metallic artifacts until they’ve a great deal of natural matter in or on the artifact, however even then, solely the natural matter is being dated, not the metallic itself. So the one actual method to know the age of the cash is to have specialists affiliate them with comparative cash or use their markings to piece collectively when and the place they have been made.

So, uh, assuming these are actual, how did they find yourself in Utah? The primary identified Spanish exploration of the realm wasn’t till the 1770s when two monks traveled north into southern Utah. But these cash have been present in an space nowhere close to the monks’ route. In all probability the more than likely rationalization is the cash have been traded with Native People who introduced the cash into what turned Utah.

It’s much less probably, however extra attention-grabbing as a result of it might be a complete thriller as to the circumstances, that some Spanish vacationers made their manner into the American Southwest with out something being identified about their journey properly earlier than the 1770s. Nonetheless although, it’s a little odd they’d be carrying a coin minted 400 years earlier.

“That is very thrilling,” Harmon stated. “I’ve by no means seen something like this in my profession.”

Even when it’s only a hoax or a completely misidentified little bit of nothing, these types of finds remind us that the Southwest’s previous continues to be awash in thriller.

Within the meantime, the NPS is working with coin specialists to find out what this stuff actually are.

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