The Jorhat District Museum recently acquired 23 rare old coins, possibly Burmese coins, dating to the 18th century from the Sivasagar district.
Jorhat District Museum officer Abantika Parashar said this was the first-ever discovery of Burmese coins in a hoard in the history of Assam.
“Its rarity is another point of interest. The Museum Directorate is planning to send it for chemical analysis after necessary preservation measures, to be followed by in-depth studies,” Parashar said.
She said out of the 23 coins, only three were intact and the rest were partially damaged or broken pieces.
Parashar said the origin was likely from Burma, probably from the Tenasserin region.
“The exact time period is yet to be confirmed but it should be the early decades of the 18th century. They are rare and made of alloy, probably lead and tin. They are circular in size. The average diameter is 65 mm, whereas the average weight is approximately 37 gm,” she said.
Describing the coins, Parashar said on one side there was the image of a mythical antelope and the other side had Burmese inscription in the periphery with a Dharma Chakra inside.
“I was deputed for this acquisition by the Museum Directorate. I was assisted by the local administration and Jyotish Phukon, in-charge of Jorhat District Museum, numismatic expert Nirupam Khanikar was also present and helped us with necessary technical assistance,” she further said.
Parashar said the coins were retrieved from Jitu Dutta’s house at Sundarpur in Sivasagar.
“He had accidentally found them while ploughing his paddy field in the first week of this month, ” Parashar said.
Parashar said she is going to write a research paper, which will include findings of the above study.
“The State Museum was also planning for exhibitions and other research activities, as it may open up a new chapter in the Indo-Burmese cultural relationship, ” she said.