Sinkers, Nails and an Ancient Macedonian Coin: In Australia!
Sinkers, Nails and an Ancient Macedonian Coin: In Australia!
By Steven and Evan Strong
(Special Thanks to John & Asha)
When Evan rang with news of an impending visit from some people bearing one very old Macedonian coin, I’d be lying if I said this unexpected development was met with enthusiasm. More a jaded sigh laced with the expectation of a deluge of denials including the artefact being a plant, lost coin, a publicity-seeking dare and excuse for an adult or even a teenager to seek momentary fame, were all good reasons for my initial foreboding. I remember asking Evan at time did anyone take a photograph or video of the artefact in situ. His answer was in the negative and is inevitably the same omission we have dealt with so often, which only adds to the reasons why the coin was doomed to be dogged with claims of mischief and trickery.
If it wasn’t for the fact Evan was obviously more taken with the artefact than I was, I would have made up an excuse not to return and let him deal with this distraction. Not for one second was I challenging the morals or motivations of the two I had never met, it is just that the few particulars given seemed open to so many negative avenues and a topic our many critics would relish. But then again, Evan had the advantage of reading the 1986 press clipping of John’s discovery of this coin when he was a seven year old, whereas I did not.
Once meeting John and his friend Asha and very quickly scanning the article, my primary reservation, that whatever the truth it will be regarded in mainstream circles as a deliberate plant, was no longer on my radar. John was seven at the time of discovering this coin on a beach at Moreton Bay. He did as any responsible seven-year-old would do once realising that this exotic coin was ancient in contacting the authorities. There is no possible way either he or his immediate family would have in their possession a collection of Macedonian ancient silver tetradrachms, more importantly one rather rare depiction of Alexander the Great with his crown placed under his chair. And if anyone did, why would a young child steal that family heirloom and fabricate such a wild story? Moreover, he is photographed with his older brother, who by association would have to be an accomplice in the theft of something no-one from his family corrected after the story was published.
If stolen from elsewhere, why is it that no-one reported the theft to the police or press once the paper came out? If stolen, why dump it on the beach and gain nothing? Moreover, in 1998 in the outer suburbs of Brisbane, what percentage of children under 8 were apprehended in the act of stealing ancient silver coins, or for that matter any large cache of money or precious metals?
To deliberately manufacture such a complex ruse the perpetrator must gain something, albeit fame, financial gain, revenge or praise, whatever the motivation it must benefit the person responsible. A seven year old has a limited palette when it comes to manipulation and concocting outcomes that profit no-one but themselves. No toys, passes to Dreamworld, chocolates, money or publicity beyond the one-off coverage in a local paper was offered. No books were sold or speaking engagements booked out, nor were any feelers for a script for film or TV tendered for consideration. Nothing eventuated for John beyond going back to school the next day and playing games with his friends.
The Unknown Third Party
So having seen the clipping and met the adult, my fears of a denial based on the artefact being placed to deceive for personal gain were rendered groundless, now on to the second line of defence. What if someone of dubious character was on the site earlier and planted the coin. That explanation is feasible, but the likelihood of separation by one degree is exacerbated by the cost of anonymity and procurement. If he or she sacrifices the glory of discovery to others unknown, the impost is also financial. Coins of this antiquity are not uncommon, and Alexander the Great was more than willing to see his image immortalised, but in this case and coin the design is no less than very rare, verging on unique. Without doubt the concept of placing the crown of the regent under the chair and apparently out of sight is not the norm, and to this date we are unable to find a replica or precedent. Therefore, being ancient, silver and at the least uncommon, it is undeniably valuable and because of this only a fool would toss it away on the beach. If using such a coin in any duplicitous way, it makes far more sense and much less of a financial strain, to purchase the same coin from the ‘garden variety issue’ at a fraction of the cost and use that as the decoy and keep the expensive version to sell to the highest bidder. Spending so much extra on an anonymous, or childish, prank is illogical and adds nothing to the scale of the impact desired.
Evidence on the Beach, Coin and Currents
The coin was found on a beach at a peninsula at the far northern end of Moreton Bay. The location is pivotal, as the opening to the ocean past the island leads to a situation where the currents flow directly into the bay and towards the beach where the coin was found. What only added to the actions of currents when turbulent, is that this coin was found in the clay alongside with a large collection of sinkers and nails. Being of a similar weight and size, it seems reasonable to assume that these metal items were washed in from the ocean during high waves and deposited on this beach.
The nails and sinkers could be, and probably are, fairly new additions and at first glance it may be that this coin is also part of a recent package. However, the dark coating was so thick, to begin with John could see no silver. He spent some time cleaning one face, fortunately some of the toning still remains and the residue is black. Silver does not rust, but it does react with the elements in a process called toning. The time of deposition and length of exposure at this site is not a difficult task, if it arrived recently it should be yellow. Further back in time the colouring darkens into a magenta, then as it gets even older, the colour lightens to cyan hue (greenish blue). The very oldest colour, the one that supplies the oldest date, is black, the thicker the better.
Now this is where the horse-like statue and Macedonian coin share a similar process. Science alone can resolve what lays within and upon. A breakdown of the constituent metals and whatever else was added to make this animal cast, will go a long way towards establishing a time and location. Perhaps an analysis of the black coat and impurities within may supply geography and hopefully some approximate numbers can be crunched. Any date for either artefact past two hundred years has a scenario of non-Original people sailing along the east coast of Australia in a non-British boat before Cook set sail. The answer to many of these questions is dependent on machinery of the highest sophistication and the advice of the experts pressing the buttons.
Even though it looks silver, has what appears to be an ancient black coat, also has the customary ting of silver when struck, we are not experts in this field. Nevertheless, the young boy was honest and acted responsibly, the silver coin has been in one spot for a long time and it was minted in another continent. These are self-evident truths, all that has to be decided was when the coin got here, and from where it came.
A Deposit From Afar
The newspaper headline proposed an ancient Macedonian connection, and left it at that and went on to the next edition. With no context or background setting it was a reasonable effort at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight, the latest advances in science and dozens of sites and artefacts the very best position we can allocate Macedonia is third place.
First on our list of known civilisations that made their way to Australia, are the ancient Egyptians. They were in Australia for thousands of years and most definitely settled in this region, there is evidence of an Egyptian presence all around this area both through archaeology, local Dreaming stories and Elder’s accounts.
Socrates only learnt of the existence of Atlantis through the Egyptian priests, and what is not well known was that the same priests initially refused to share anything with the uncircumcised Macedonian visitors. It was only after they volunteered to undergo circumcision with a stone knife (a very typical form of Original initiation into manhood) were the Macedonians viewed as being worthy of being told anything. Once they played by Egyptian rules, they certainly won their trust and co-operation. The fact that ancient Egyptian icons and Gods were engraved into Australian rocks and platforms all over Australia, leaves open the very real possibility this Macedonian coin reached Australia via Egypt.
Not only did Greece forge a very close relationship with Egypt over a long time, when under Alexander the Great’s reign they also fought with many nations throughout Europe and Asia. Until reaching the Indian/Pakistan border his campaign had been entirely successful, but due to an extended time abroad, lowering moral and fierce opponents, Alexander was not only defeated but some of his troops refused to continue fighting or return home and took up residence in the hills of present-day Pakistan. They stayed, never to return and although maintaining their Macedonian heritage and whatever they took from the war as a reward, which will obviously include payment with the standard currency of the time, they were now part of the local landscape.
Even to this day, the genetic links between India and Australia still remain. A very recent mtDNA survey conducted by the Indian Government through Southern India found that seven people genetically screened exhibited unique Australian Original genetic signatures. Researchers have been aware for some time that there are many “intriguing similarities … between a few Indigenous tribes in India and the Tasmanian Aborigines (sic). The two groups share linguistic, cultural, and physical characteristics. The Dravidian fishermen of the Madras coast use almost the same words for I, thou, he, we and you as some Aboriginal (sic) tribes. Many other key words in Dravidian dialects are identical to Tasmanian Aboriginal terms in both pronunciation and meaning. All of the Dravidian dialects are agglutinative, as are the Australian languages. Australian canoes are constructed identically to those of the coastal Dravidian tribes in India, and wild tribes in the Deccan region of India are the only culture to use the boomerang outside Australia. The physical resemblance of the Dravidians to the Aborigines (sic), particularly to the Tasmanians, indicates racial similarities.” (1)
The connection to India is steeped in Original oral traditions, we know of a Dreaming story that tells of a time when warriors from Australia and India fought. In what only adds to the avenues and timing as yet unregistered, this narrative describes ancient times when the Australian and Indian lands were united and goes on to explain how the continents were separated and drifted apart. Stephen Hagan, editor of First Nations Telegraph, told me of a time when he went deep into the Southern Indian forests and broke into an ancient song with Original lyrics. As he continued the bush people in the vicinity heard this sacred refrain and joined in, word for word. (2)
As much as this second-hand coin travelling through Egypt or India seems the most likely route, without definitive Original guidance, there can no definites only probable candidates. Third on our list is Macedonia, the other two civilisations were in continual and close personal contact for many years, but we have very little evidence on the Australian ground of anything Macedonian. Yes we have heard consistent talk of many other Macedonian coins being found in Australia, but outside sighting a photograph of one coin, we actually haven’t seen another coin or heard rumours of any other Macedonian archaeology. In what can only reinforce Macedonia’s lower ranking, we cannot remember talk of, or a Dreaming story mentioning Macedonians, even incidentally.
Past the first three applicants, nothing seems to fit, and realistically we feel the contributing party was either Egyptian or Indian, with the extremely remote possibility this is all bogus.
Looking the Other way
Either way and in every way, those responsible for protecting and nurturing Australia’s history have performed without attendance or distinction. John still has the coin, has had it for decades, and is still awaiting an answer or a genuine attempt to research the site or investigate the black coating on the silver. He will get neither, this is just one more censored chapter of the Original truth that will never be discussed in polite public circles.
Undeniably, if John is telling the truth we have a real and present archaeological anomaly, the pedigree of this artefact sinks or swims on his character and integrity. Knowing of the looming storm clouds and indignation ahead, we put it to John that when writing this article we could use another name, just his first name or jump in the deep end and throw in the whole lot. Two options provide degrees of anonymity, while the third promises no privacy. John had nothing to hide and saw no shame in telling the truth and sought no shield or alias. He is ready willing and able to share his experience and the coin, but no-one who is running the show wants to look, discuss or endorse.
The coin was not made in Australia, it was not minted in Australia, the human and God depicted have no association with Australia, the silver used in making this coin was not mined or melted in Australia, but it was found in Australia by a seven year old child who asked the adults for help and guidance and got nothing in the exchange. Here he is thirty years later still asking the same questions, and all the while along the deafening silence in official circles tendered in reply has remained the only constant.
(1) Robert Lawlor, 1990. “Voices of the First Day” (Inner Traditions: Rochester Vermount) 120-1.
(2) Stephen Hagan, Personal Communication.