Shipwreck yields coins, barter items

By Richard Giedroyc

The Solomon Islands aren't the only place making numismatic news recently regarding odd and primitive money.

A yet to be identified 15th or 16th century shipwreck encountered off the coast of Namibia in Africa was apparently carrying both coins and odd and curious items meant for barter with the local inhabitants.

Archaeologist Dieter Noli is associated with the excavation being undertaken by Namdeb Diamond Corporation, a joint venture of the government of Namibia and the De Beers diamond mining company from South Africa that discovered the wreck by accident.

Noli was quoted in a May 1 Associated Press article as saying, "Sending a ship toward Africa in that period [14th to 15th centuries], that was venture capital in the extreme."

Namdeb Diamond Corporation had been clearing and draining an area of seabed in search of diamonds when they unexpectedly uncovered what was left of the unidentified ship.

At first the team found some partial sphere-shaped ingots that they were unable to identify. This was followed by finding cannons, which were much more easily recognized.



Africa Dieter Noli Namibia De Beers Solomon Islands Namdeb Diamond Corporation