In January or February of 2009, David Wells, Charlestown, IN found 8 Roman Coins along the Ohio River. On June 14, 2009, he found 11 more Roman Coins 20 miles east of the first site.
First, comment or two about the Ohio River. Nearly a thousand miles long, running from Pittsburgh to Cairo, IL where it meets the Mississippi River. The Indians did not consider the river ending at the Mississippi but felt it was the same river that continued on to the Gulf of Mexico. A major water road into the interior. At Louisville, KY, the Falls of the Ohio: the stopping point going both ways!
Ohio River looking toward Indian
Ohio River from Kentucky Shore
This is 14 mile creek. Legends of the Backbone are connected to the Welsh Prince Madoc.
Roman Coins found in 1963 during the building of Sherman Minton Bridge. Two Wells collections found in January and June of 2009.
Sherman Minton Bridge, bottom is New Albany, IN. Coins found digging pier for bridge.
Site of Wells first set of coins
Site of Wells 2nd set of coins, 1 mile east of Bethlehem, IN
Eight coins found in first set
Can make out the name Claudius II who reigned 268-270 AD, coin on right.
11 coins found in second set
Notice the (radiates) sun rays on the obverse of these two coins. Radiates only occurred during the 3rd Century, 215 AD to 295 AD . All the small coppery radiates were likely struck between 260 and 295 AD.
One of the things I heard concerning Wells finding two sets of Roman coins is that such a thing is likely suspicious because the odds are against someone finding any Roman coins, much less two sets in one year!
This article by BBC describes coins found in Wales in 2008
This man, also using a metal detector, found two hoards of Roman coins in Wales.
You remember coin # 2, Wells Set I, was of Claudius II. Likewise one of the Sherman Minton Bridge coins is of Claudius II.
Notice the radiates here, indicating the 3rd Century AD
This excellent report by Jim Scherz concerns 10 coins found by Fred Kingman on the Wisconsin River in the early 1970’s. On of the coins in this collection is of Claudius II.
Jeremiah Epstein’s article in the February 1980 issue of Current Anthropology is considered the definitive article on pre-Columbian coins in America.
Epstein discusses 40 Pre-Columbian coins found in America between 1533 and 1977. I find it interesting that of the 40, 32 are Roman coins.
Page 2, TABLE 1, Epstein
Epstein comments: “The minting dates do not support the diffusionist position. If there had been contact through European exploration, we would expect it to have been more frequent in one period of Greek or Roman history than in another. Similarly, if the coins came to the New World as a result of drift voyages, the incidence of drifts should correlate more or less with periods of intensive Roman shipping.”
Miguel Rivera Dorado, Dept. of anthropology in Madrid, Spain , praises Epstein and says while a relatively great number of ancient coins have been found, in contrast, there is a lack of other Roman objects (he mentions swords, for example, among other things). I was able to find descriptions of five different Roman swords which were found.
Top sword, same as the Buddy Lemon sword, identified as Roman Sword.
River Systems of US.
Swords found: Norwood (near Cincinnati), Paducah, KY; St. Louis, Mo; Nashville, TN; St. Paul, MN. The swords and coins were found along waterways and doesn’t appear to be collectors dropping coins and artifacts.
So what does all this mean? I believe It means that traders using Roman currency were here and, through whatever circumstances, left these coins behind. With so many coins found, along the super highways of ancient times, the rivers, it’s hard to imagine another scenario to match the evidence.
19 R O M A N C O I N S F O U N D A L O N G T H E O H I O R I V E R
ROMAN COINS FOUND
ALONG THE OHIO RIVER
NEAR LOUISVILLE, KY
“The Ohio River is the most beautiful river
on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear,
and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks
and rapids, a single instance only