A Maryland museum said archaeologists searching for the location of an early English settlement uncovered a rare clue: a silver coin dating from the 17th century.
Travis Parno, director of research and collections at the Historic St. Mary’s City museum, said archaeologists working to locate the original site of St. Mary’s Fort, one of the earliest English settlements in North America, found the silver coin bearing the image of King Charles I.
“It didn’t exactly have the date printed on it, but it was pretty much the next best thing,” Parno told CNN. “It had a maker’s mark that was only used in 1633 and 1634, so it might as well have had the date printed on it, to be honest.”
Parno said the team has now identified the location of the fort, which was first settled around the same time the coin was minted.
“At this point, we’ve got a confluence of data that says this is without a doubt, the remains of St. Mary’s Fort,” Parno said. “The coin definitely helped. It was kind of like the cherry on top.”
Parno said the coin was an unusual find, as goods, services and land were more often purchased at the time using tobacco.
Excavation efforts at the site of the fort are ongoing.