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Spanish coins found in Utah desert may pre-date Columbus
20 May 2019 @ 14:07

COINS found in the Utah desert may be evidence of Spanish settlers on the American continent at least 200 years before Christopher Columbus arrived – or they may merely be a hoax.

A hiker from Colorado found what he thought were two shards of scrap metal whilst out walking in the Arches National Park close to the Marina Holls Crossing, near Lake Powell, but on examining them closer at home, realised they had imprints which could have historic significance.

He took the two coins to the US National Parks Service for investigation, says the organisation's archaeologist Brian Harmon, and they are now at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Page, Arizona, where they are still being studied eight months later.

“We're trying not to touch them and contaminate them with our hands,” says Harmon.

“They appear to be very well-preserved. They're very thin; we think one is probably silver and the other copper.”

The coins were found in a touristy part of the park which had been underwater on occasions in the decades following the construction of the Glen Canyon dam in 1966.

If they turn out to be genuine, the next step is to try to solve the mystery of how they made it to Utah.

It is well-documented that two Spanish priests, Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Veles de Escalante went on an evangelising mission to that part of the American continent in 1776, but did not get close enough to the national park to have dropped the coins, and in any case, the inscriptions on them appear to date back much farther than the late 18th century.



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