Coin found off Arnhem Land coast could be among Australia’s oldest foreign artefacts

An uninhabited island off the coast of Arnhem Land may seem worlds apart from medieval Africa, but believe it or not, they’re more connected than you’d think.

In 1944, a RAAF serviceman found several coins on a deserted beach on one of the Wessel Islands, off the Northern Territory coast, but the exact location of the discovery remained a mystery.

Now, almost eight decades later, amateur historians believe they’ve found another coin — this time on Elcho Island, which is also in the Wessel Island group.

The 1944 coins were linked to the east African city of Kilwa, off modern-day Tanzania.

If confirmed to be the same Kilwa coin — thought to have been produced post-1400 — the new coin would be among the oldest foreign artefacts ever found in Australia.

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