XI’AN: About two tons of ancient coins were accidentally discovered on the grounds of a primary school in Liquan county of Shaanxi province - a significant discovery for the research of China's ancient coins, official said.
"The coins were found by accident on Tuesday when the school's playground was under construction," Zhao Aiguo, director of the county heritage and tourism bureau, told China Daily on Friday.
The archaeological excavation is still going on, and the unearthed coins have been sent to the county's Zhaoling museum for protection, study and possible display, he said.
Preliminary research and identification showed that the coins were made and used in the dynasties of Tang (618-907), Song (960-1127) and Yuan (1271-1368), Zhao said.
Local media quoted an anonymous worker at the construction site as saying that the coins were found at about 11:30 am when crews were working on the playground. Workers then reported the discovery to the local heritage authority and police.
"We helped collect the coins and put them in 170 bags, which completely filled a truck," the worker said.
Archaeological experts and technicians from the local heritage and tourism bureau, as well as police, rushed to the site and the construction was stopped for rescue excavation, Zhao said.
Archaeologists found that the coins were kept in a 1.5 sq m, 1 m high pit made with blue bricks under ground.
The site was part of the ruins of Xiangjici Temple, which was built by Emperor Liu Heng (202 - 157 BC), the fifth emperor of Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), as a memorial for his mother Queen Bo, Zhao said.
The original temple had a tower and some houses, which were all destroyed. An historic tower that still stands next to the school was built in 834 in the Tang Dynasty, Zhao said.
The place where the coins were kept might have been an underground storage area for keeping the money donated by people who visited the temple, Zhao said.