The Washington Post reported that archaeologists found a Charles I shilling at a dig in St. Mary's, MD, perhaps brought to the New World by English settlers in 1634.
It was a silver shilling, bearing the likeness of the doomed King Charles I, and one day three centuries ago, someone lost it inside the Maryland colonial fort at St. Mary's.
It was an elegant coin, showing the crowned king in profile with goatee and lace collar. It was probably missed by its owner, and probably searched for, in vain.
Last week, archaeologists announced that, about 380 years after it was lost, it turned up during the historic dig that recently uncovered the outlines of the fort at the first permanent English settlement in Maryland.
The shilling had been struck in the royal mint in the Tower of London about 1633 or 1634, chief project archaeologist Travis Parno said Friday.
And it may have been carried by one of the original 150 colonists who arrived at St. Mary's on two ships, the Ark and the Dove, in March 1634.
The discovery is rare, Parno said, and further proof that the archaeologists have correctly pinpointed the fort's location.
It nailed our site date exactly, he said. The shilling has a mint mark — a tiny image of a castle portcullis — that dates it.
We don't find a lot of coinage, he said.
We don't have any shilling that matches this one exactly. To find one that's that early is a unique thing for us. … It was quite a revelation.
The shilling may predate the later use of tobacco as currency in Maryland, which happened after the colony established tobacco as a cash crop, Parno said.
The discovery was kept under wraps for safekeeping while the coin was studied. It was unveiled Wednesday when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) visited the site.
To read the complete article, see:
Archaeologists find rare, nearly 380-year-old English coin during Maryland dig
Wayne Homren, Editor
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