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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Samurai Nest Egg

Friday, June 08, 2018

Trenches Japan Ceramic Jar Coin Jar Wooden Tablet TriptychIn a town just north of Tokyo, a ceramic jar filled with thousands of bronze coins has been unearthed at the site of a fifteenth-century samurai’s residence. According to archaeologist Yoshiyuki Takise of the Saitama Cultural Deposits Research Corporation, the coins, which were cast in China, may have been an offering to the deity of the earth, or may simply have been buried for safekeeping. Markings on a wooden tablet found on the rim of the jar indicate it could contain as many as 260,000 coins, a number that Takise says far exceeds what one would expect to find in circulation in what was then a rural area. 

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