View Full Version : Ancient Swahili East African coins found in Australia

10-25-2019, 09:25 PM
The coins appear to have been from the Kilwa Swahili city state in Tanzania, as a result of the trading history between the East coast of Africa and East/South East Asia (China and Indonesia) a few coins were found in Australia.


Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kilwa was once a thriving trade port and one of the most powerful settlements along the Swahili Coast. Trade in gold, ivory and slaves with the Arabian Peninsula, as well as India and China, influenced the growth and development of Kilwa, which reached its highest point in wealth and commerce between 13 th and 15 th centuries AD.

15th century painting of Kilwa Kisiwani

So how did the ancient east African coins find their way to a beach in northern Australia? Professor McIntosh suggests that the Kilwa coins were probably brought together as lucky charms or gifts for the natives or by sailors from Makassar in Indonesia, who obtained the coins through trade, and who set out in fleets to harvest sea cucumbers in the waters off northern Australia during the 1700s. However, a more controversial theory is that the coins were brought along in an Arab dhow ship.

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