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ios developer account(buyappleacc.com):Could this site in central China have produced the world\u2019s oldest coins?

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HENAN — A team of archaeologists has discovered a mint in central China that they say may have been the place where the world’s first coins were produced.

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Excavations suggest that the mint’s operations began sometime between 640 and 550BC – up to a century before the first known coins were produced by the kingdom of Lydia in modern-day western Turkey.

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Although the wooden structures that are thought to have occupied the site are long gone, researchers discovered more than 3,000 pits where workers dumped the industrial waste that proved the existence of money making activities.

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Work at the site at an ancient city ruin in Guanzhuang, a village outside Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, began in 2011. The initial discoveries included plenty of bronze items – such as ritual artefacts, weapons and musical instruments – and were broadly in line with expectations.

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Only when some clay moulds and broken coins shaped like a spade came to light that the archaeologists realised the history of money might need to be rewritten.

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rA spade coin made at the site. Photo: Handout via SCMP

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Many ancient coins have been found around the world. Only a small number of production sites had been identified, with the oldest dating to between 575 and 550BC from the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia.

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Carbon dating of burnt food residuals from the pits, as well as other types of evidence such as mould style and ceramic typology, suggested that the Guanzhuang mint was probably older.

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Two other ancient mints have been found in the lower Yellow River region, and previous studies estimated that they could be as old as 8th century BC, but these claims are not backed by the most up-to-date scientific methods, Zhao Hao, associate professor of archaeology with Zhengzhou University and colleagues, argued in a paper published in the Cambridge University journal Antiquity this month.

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“Guanzhuang is the earliest-known archaeological mint site dated by robust radiocarbon dates in the world,” they wrote.

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Before the invention of coinage, people bartered or used natural materials such as sea shells, silver or gold for exchange.

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It is widely believed that King Alyattes, who ruled the Lidya Empire from 619 to 560BC, changed the nature of money forever by stamping an official mark on a piece of alloy made of gold and silver.

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Few of these Lidyan staters have been found, but they are commonly regarded as the earliest coin.

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Lidya was an international trade hub. China was not, but it had one of the most advanced metal industries at the time.

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At Guanzhuang, Zhao and colleagues found that the mint needed a complex network of different industries to operate.

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