2600 years have passed since Henan dug up the "qianwozi", the world's oldest "mint"

  Now if someone asks you to bring your wallet?

Many people may say, who still brings a wallet in the digital age!

However, in ancient times, if you had to go out and buy some valuables, you had to carry the money on your shoulders if you didn't get it right.

What is the ancestor's money like?

How old is the "age" of the oldest mint?

The mystery has been revealed. Recently, archaeologists discovered the world's oldest coin minting workshop at the Guanzhuang site in Xingyang, Henan. It has been confirmed by carbon 14 dating that it has been more than 2,600 years ago.

  Qilu Evening News Qilu One Point

  Reporter Zhang Xiangyang

Money is not rare

Rare at the mint

  Netizens have joked that Henan is worthy of being a major cultural relic province, and this time they dug a "qian nest"...

  It is reported that the Guanzhuang site is located in Gaocun Township, Xingyang City, Zhengzhou. A complete urban site from the Western Zhou Dynasty to the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period has been discovered before.

Archaeologists discovered a large area of ​​copper casting, pottery, and other handicraft workshops near the south gate of the inner city. The copper casting workshop area is the largest, and one of them is the coin minting workshop.

  During the field excavation of the workshop from 2017 to 2018, the archaeological team of Zhengzhou University identified four types of relics related to coin casting, including empty first cloth products, unused cores, used cores, and foreign ones.

Among them, it is the most direct indication that the remains of the standardized metal currency produced by the Guanzhuang copper casting workshop are the empty cores. The archaeologists found four bronze cloth coins and 54 cores in the nine accumulation units.

  Archaeologists observed the CT image of the finished empty first cloth. These cores are exactly the same as those embedded in the empty first cloth unearthed at the ruins. The cross-sections are also hexagonal. This confirms that these finished cloth coins were produced at the Guanzhuang site.

  For archaeologists, the discovery of coins is not a particularly pleasant surprise, but the discovery of coin Tao Fan is truly exciting.

Zhao Hao, associate professor of the Department of Archaeology at the School of History of Zhengzhou University, made an analogy, “It’s like finding a renminbi is not rare, but finding a mint is relatively rare, because it means the existence of a very old coin workshop.” It is true that coins are used for circulation and can appear in many places. However, in the Spring and Autumn period when metal currency was first popular, the number of minting workshops was obviously extremely limited, so its discovery was extraordinary.

Millet eaten by artisans

Measure the age of the site

  China is one of the first countries in the world to use metal currency. The era of coin minting is generally believed to have started in the Spring and Autumn Period and prevailed in the Warring States Period.

Cloth coins were in circulation for more than 300 years during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. After Qin Shihuang unified China, he abolished the original currency and cast Qin half and two coins.

However, there has been no definite statement about when to start casting standardized metal currency.

  Except for the Central Plains of China, the Indus Valley and the Kingdom of Lydia in Turkey had early metal coins.

The site of the site where the world’s oldest coin is believed to have been unearthed is the ancient city of Ephesus in the Kingdom of Lydia.

Lydia is located in the western part of today's Turkey. Around the 6th century BC, Lydia began to cast a gold and silver alloy coin (composition of 3 gold and 1 silver), commonly known as "amber gold".

However, no coinage was found in the city of Ephesus.

  Since these gold coins were discovered by British archaeologists in the early 20th century, there has been controversy over their age in the international archaeological community.

  Zhao Hao once went to an archaeological site in Ephesus: "These gold coins were originally found in a jar under a temple in Ephesus. They were a cellar. Archaeologists mainly started with the stone of ancient buildings. To infer the age, because the carbon 14 measurement is mainly organic and not applicable to metals and stones, the reliability is controversial and understandable.” In the 1990s, archaeological experts composed of Germany and Austria continued to explore the origin of these amber gold coins. The source, and confirms that the age of the Ephesus amber gold coin cellar should be around 610 BC.

  So, how can we get the accurate dating of the coin workshop at the Guanzhuang site?

In the view of archaeologists, plant seeds are most suitable for carbon-14 dating, and annual plant seeds are best.

"Because carbon-14 dating indicates the time when organic matter died, and trees can often grow for decades or even hundreds of years." Zhao Hao said.

  In the ash pit of the coin workshop site in Guanzhuang, Zhao Hao and his team discovered carbonized millet and wheat, which should have come from the grains eaten by coin artisans at the time.

The age of the workshop is derived from the analysis of carbonized millet.

"Because the quantity of wheat is small, and it may be a foreign crop obtained through trade, while millet is a native crop in the Central Plains, the measurement of millet will be more accurate and more assured."

  According to the American Beta Chronology Laboratory, it is confirmed that the production of copper in Guanzhuang roughly started from 814 BC to 750 BC, and the production of coins occurred from 640 BC to 550 BC.

For the first time, this data provides absolute chronological information about early coin minting sites in China, and also makes the Guanzhuang site the world's oldest coin-making workshop site confirmed by carbon 14 testing.

This once again illustrates China's important position in the history of early currency development in the world.

Spring and Autumn Period

Many places to mint coins "the money scene is vast"

  Kongshoubu is a metal currency used by Zhou, Jin, Zheng, Wei and other countries in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. It is also one of the earliest metal coins in my country.

  Cloth coin, also known as shovel cloth because it resembles a shovel, originally evolved from the bronze farm tool "镈", imitating the ancient farm tool shovel, because the initials of "镈" and "cloth" are the same. "镈" turns into "cloth" in rhyme.

According to the shape, cloth coins are divided into two categories: empty head cloth and flat head cloth.

The first thing that appears is the empty head cloth. The cloth has a handle on the upper end and a hole on the handle. The wooden handle can be inserted. The place where the wooden handle is installed is designed as a hollow square cone. It is called "銎" in numismatics, so it is called empty. First cloth: In the second stage, the cloth head becomes relatively flat and there are no holes, so it is also called flat head cloth.

  So far, China has discovered the ruins of coin workshops during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC to 476 BC) in many places. The casting empty heads are located in Houma in Shanxi, Xinzheng and Xingyang in Henan, and the date of coining is relative. almost.

Although the Houma and Xinzheng sites were discovered earlier (in the 1950s and 1960s and 1990s, respectively), accurate carbon 14 dating has not been done.

  Many pointed-shoulders and pointed-foot empty-shou cloths were unearthed from the ancient city of Houma Niu Village, Shanxi, and the site of a workshop where such empty-shou cloths were cast has been discovered. A batch of pointed-foot empty-shou cloth pottery fans were unearthed, and some of them were empty. First cloth money.

Among them, more than 100,000 empty-head fabric cores were unearthed at the No. 54 site.

In the empty first cloth of the ancient city of Niucun, there are two face writings with 5 characters each, the last 3 characters are "Gong Huang Yin", the first 2 characters are ambiguous, some scholars think it is the two characters "Xin Jin", namely "Xinjin", also known as "Xintian", was the new capital that was moved to Jinjinggong in the fifteenth year (585 BC), and it was also called "Jiang" or "XinJiang".

The ancient city of Niucun where this currency was unearthed is the Xintian, the new capital of Jin.

  Two coin minting workshops were found in the ancient city of Zheng Han in Xinzheng during the Spring and Autumn Period. One is outside the southwest wall of the ancient city of Zheng Han. A large number of empty-headed fabrics, cores, and related smelting relics were found. It should be one of Zheng Guo's official-owned sites in the Spring and Autumn Period. The site of a workshop dedicated to casting empty head cloths; the second place was at the Xiaogaozhuang copper casting site in Xinzheng, where a large amount of money was found.

The empty first cloth fan and the bronze ritual instrument fan produced with them are both in the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period.

  The discoveries of many archaeological sites indicate that China is one of the birthplaces of the world's metal currency, a revolutionary financial tool.

Copper shell or

The earliest metal currency

  Shell coins are the earliest currency in China and the ancestor of coins.

The use of shell coins has been around since at least the Xia Dynasty. In history, there is a record of "Xia, Xuan shells, Qin, and waste shells were used to make money." The shell coins unearthed from the Touxia cultural site in Henan Province witnessed the earliest appearance in China. The original physical goods shellfish.

  The types of shell coins in the Shang and Zhou dynasties included sea shells, stone shells, bone shells, copper shells and gold-clad copper shells.

Tens of thousands of shells were unearthed in the Yin Ruins of Anyang. Among them, nearly 7,000 natural sea shells were unearthed from the Tomb of Fuhao.

Because shells are produced on the seashore, the supply of real shells is in short supply due to the difficulty in obtaining southern sea shells in northern China and the Central Plains.

At this time, other materials are used to imitate shell-shaped currencies, such as stone shells, bone shells, mussels, copper shells, etc.

  Copper shells are the earliest metal currency in China. Copper shells are divided into copper shells without writing and copper shells with writing according to whether there is writing on the currency surface.

The earliest copper shells were unearthed in late Shang tombs in Anyang, Henan and Baode, Shanxi, dating from the 14th to the 11th century BC.

In 1953, in 1953, three small hole-shaped small non-textual copper shells were unearthed from the late Shang tombs in Dasikong Village, Yinxu Site, Anyang, Henan; in 1971, one time was unearthed from the Shang tomb in Linzheyu Village on the bank of the Yellow River in the southwest of Baode County, Shanxi.109 There are 113 pieces of seashells and chariots and horses, etc., which are produced in the same pit.

The appearance of Baode copper shell is the earliest copper coin discovered in China so far, and it can be called the originator of metal currency.

  Copper imitation shells developed to the middle of the spring and autumn, and a new form of currency appeared, that is, gold-clad copper imitation shells, which are covered with a thin layer of gold on the outer surface of ordinary copper coins, which are both luxurious and wear-resistant.

In 1997, a tomb of the Spring and Autumn Period was discovered in the ancient city of Lu in Qufu, from which more than 300 gold-clad copper shells and more than 200 fragments were cleared.

  According to the age, it shows that at least three thousand years ago, there was metal currency on the land of China. Copper shells are not only the earliest metal currency in my country, but may also be the earliest metal currency in the world.