Unearthed ancient coins. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, May 11: Ancient coins unearthed a decade earlier in Nabarangpur district will be displayed at the State Museum and also be researched upon by numismatists and epigraphists.
The rare coins, which are now in the safe custody of the Nabarangpur district treasury, will shortly be supplied to the State Museum for detailed study, said sources at the state culture department.
In 2003-04, villagers discovered the rare coins near Kosagumuda in the district when present state tourism and culture secretary Arabinda Padhee was the collector there.
“The collection that was unearthed by chance by the local residents included unique silver and gold coins that were clearly ancient,” reminisced Padhee.
“The coins have a few Persian symbols and emblems of a spider and other images that were most likely propagated on coins during the Mughal era, may be under Akbar’s reign,” he said.
The villagers, following local traditions, considered it a bad omen to find coins under the soil and were hence worried. “They believed that to reverse the negative energy of the coins, a small shrine had to be built. I asked them to hand over the coins to the district treasury and in return ensured that the local administration helped the villagers build the shrine. Ever since, the coins were safely kept in the treasury,” said Padhee.
Last week, he requested the superintendent of the State Museum to collect the coins from the district collector of Nabarangpur so they are studied by experts and also displayed at both the district and state museums.
“We have already arranged for officials of the State Museum to collect these coins that include five gold and 50 silver coins, within a week. Once here, they will be studied and researched upon by experts. We are also planning to host an exhibition tentatively on May 18. A pair of ancient elephant tusks from Jeypore will also be brought here for better preservation,” said Sushil Das, director state culture department and superintendent-in-charge of the State Musuem.
Curators and scholars at the numismatics department of the State Museum will be utilising the rare coins for detailed research of the inscriptions on them that could also throw light on the history of the state and the events that had brought the coins to Nabarangpur a few centuries ago.
“We need to see the coins and study them well to understand the symbols and inscriptions which really would be the key to the history the coins uphold. It could give us new perceptions of the state’s history of ancient trade as well as politics,” said an official of the numismatics section.