This year, there’s been a great deal of construction and infrastructure improvement in the Russian capital of Moscow. Amid the building projects and renovations, a surprising side-effect has emerged on more than one occasion: Rare old coins are being recovered from the construction sites!
It’s often the case in life that we set out at a task with one particular goal in mind only to find that we’ve achieved something totally unforeseen along the way. Numerous scientific discoveries have arisen in this manner—as does the unfolding of the plot in untold numbers of mystery novels.
It stands to reason that long-neglected or isolated areas are a prime location where forgotten artifacts (or even buried treasure!) may be lurking beneath the debris. It’s nonetheless surprising to find relics from centuries past that remain intact beneath the outgrowth of our modern urban landscapes.
A pair of such stories have surfaced in Russia in just the past few months. The country’s capital city, Moscow, is currently undergoing a sprawling gentrification project. Old or blighted buildings and roads around the city are being renovated or rebuilt.
In May, it was reported that one of these construction sites near Moscow’s downtown had yielded an ivory chess piece (a bishop) that dated to the time of Ivan the Terrible in the middle of the 16th century. An important piece of history in its own right, the chess piece held a secret within: a small cache of ten handmade silver coins. Their face value amounted to 5 kopeks at the time.
This naturally raises questions about whether or not other chess pieces from the same ivory set, if still extant, were also used to hide more coins.
Then, in September, another story of medieval coins made of precious metals emerged. Similarly uncovered during routine construction work in Moscow, this time a hoard of over 40 small gold coins from the 17th century were found. Archaeologists are still evaluating and analyzing the find.
These two exciting discoveries are more evidence that rare gold or silver coins from across human history could be waiting to be found right beneath your feet—as long as one knows where to look!
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