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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ancient Siam Coins Found in Savannakhet, Laos

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A clay jar filled with ancient coins was discovered by a UXO clearance team in Savannakhet province on Sunday.

The coins were found on the property of Mr. Sikham, in Savannkahet Province’s Phin District.

Ven. Visien Kaenkeow, a monk who was present when the artifacts were discovered,  gave an account of the circumstances leading to the discovery.

He told Laotian Times that a member of a UXO clearance unit working nearby who requested to remain anonymous, had claimed to have had a particularly vivid dream the night before the discovery.

In this dream, an unidentified person had come to him and bestowed treasure upon him. The next morning he informed his unit about the dream.

“As the clearance unit was working in the field searching for UXO, metal detection equipment let out a high-pitched “beep,” indicating that there was something below the surface,” said Ven. Visien.

He said that the team began to dig, and found a jar filled with coins that appeared to be from a long time ago.

District authorities were then called to the scene to help investigate the vessel.

Personnel at the scene decided it was best to begin a religious offering of “Khun Ha,” asking for permission from the spirits to take hold of the decanter.

After pouring out the objects in the jar onto a plastic sheet, they counted out a total of 1,646 coins.

Early speculation suggests that the coins are from the Kingdom of Siam, having been used during the early 1900s. 

Ven. Visien went on to say that he belives the coins are “Siam Sa Tang” coins.

It is said that the first Satang coin was in circulation from 1908 to 1937, featured a hole through the middle, and bore the name of King Rama VI. 

A coin of the same design was minted with the name of King Rama VIII in 1939 before the hole in the middle was removed and the style changed in 1942. 

The coin is worth THB 0.001, and although rare, could potentially still be used to this day.

According to Ven. Visien, the coins are now being stored at the Phin Village Temple, with no immediate plans to study them further or move them to any museum.

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