|Residents in Banda Aceh were stirred on Tuesday with the discovery of a chest containing hundreds of dirham (gold) coins dating back to an ancient Aceh kingdom.|
The gold coins were found inside a chest when an oyster gatherer, female by tradition, was looking for oysters in a swampy area in Gampong Pande village, Banda Aceh. The chest was discovered not far from an ancient cemetery destroyed by the 2004 tsunami.
“The coins were found in a chest covered by coral and oyster shells and buried in mud,” said Abdullah, a Gampong Pande villager.
|The discovery of gold coins in Gampong Pande village is unsurprising as the village was the location of the first Islamic kingdom of Aceh. The area was the site of a kingdom ruled by the Meukuta Alam dynasty. The neighboring kingdom was ruled by the Darul Kamal dynasty.|
Both dynasties were then merged, forming the Aceh Darussalam kingdom, by Acehnese Sultan Iskandar Muda Johan Pahlawan Meukuta Alam.
|The Sultanate of Aceh was centered in the modern day Indonesian province of Aceh. It was a major regional power in the 16th and 17th centuries, before experiencing a long period of decline. Its capital was Kutaraja, the present-day Banda Aceh.|
At its peak it was a formidable enemy of the Sultanate of Johor and Portuguese-controlled Malacca, both on the Malayan Peninsula, as all three attempted to control the trade through the Strait of Malacca and the regional exports of pepper and tin with fluctuating success. In addition to its considerable military strength, the court of Aceh became a noted center of Islamic scholarship and trade.
|Residents in their hundreds were quickly on the scene, arriving with simple tools and scraping sand on the riverbed and swamp near the ancient tombs. They immediately sold the gold coins to a gold shop. Several gold traders were also noticed at the site buying the coins at various prices from the residents.|
The coins were sold at Rp 350,000 (US$30.15) for a coin the size of a button and Rp 800,000 for a coin measuring the size of a current Rp 100 coin.