The Ancient Coins in Arnhem Land Expedition

Summing up a talk by Wolfgang Pauli on his work with Werner Heisenberg ,  Niels Bohr once questioned whether their theory was crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.  Niels Bohr is very highly placed to comment on crazy ideas as a pioneer of Quantum mechanics who proposed the complementarity principle.  Even though not on the same scale, one would wonder whether launching an archaeological expedition to learn more about few ancient coins found on the shore of a small uninhabited island can also be a crazy idea.  As Bohr implied, sometimes crazy ideas can work wonders.  Similarly, if there are some interesting artefacts to be uncovered in Wessel Islands, it may lead to a revision of Australian History.  The Kilwa coins are thought to be about 1000 years old. It would be far more interesting if the process which landed the coins on the beach was as ancient.  Would there be any clues to provide answers to this question?  Any sound archaeological evidence about movement of seafaring vessels around that time closer to the northern Australia would also make an encounter between Indians and Australians a few hundred years before then little more plausible[1] as they had been very active in the region. Thus, the importance of this expedition is far more than what it seems.

Prof.  Ian McIntosh, a professor of anthropology at Indiana University, is leading the expedition to study more about Kilwa Coins which were found by Maurice Isenberg, an Australian soldier stationed on Australia’s uninhabited Wessel Islands during World War II. In 1979

In a statement released to a paper, he stated “Multiple theses have been put forward by noted scholars, and the major goal is to piece together more of the puzzle. Is a shipwreck involved? Are there more coins? All options are on the table, but only the proposed expedition can help us answer some of these perplexing questions[2]

There is a facebook page dedicated to the expedition which can be found at the following address:

[1] Arachige, Darshi, Do the Estimated Admixture Times Confirm the Proposed Holocene Gene Flow from India to Australia? (March 10, 2013). Available at SSRN:

[2] Zoe Mintz, “African Coins Found In Australia: 1,000-Year-Old Discovery May Rewrite Country’s History, Was James Cook The First’?” at, Published on 20/5/2013

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The website aims to show the possible origin of religion through a ‘uniquely’ human process which has links to the seclusion of girls at puberty. It also advocates the view that the Paleolithic Venus figurines are related to these puberty rites and hence, the prehistoric Venus figurines may carry a much larger meaning. Thus, Religion is something more than a throwback from our animal past.
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