Updated: Monday, 04 Mar 2013, 5:27 AM EST
Published : Monday, 04 Mar 2013, 4:03 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana anthropologist is leading an expedition to find out how a handful of 1,000-year-old coins wound up on a remote beach along Australia's northern coastline.
Anthropologist Ian McIntosh of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis is using a grant from the Australian Geographic Society to take a team that includes a historian and an archaeologist to survey the site where the coins were found. They hope to obtain an excavation permit for the site.
The ancient copper coins might reflect the arrival of Europeans in Australia and raise the possibility of shipwrecks along an early trading route more than 1,000 years ago.
An Australian soldier found the coins in 1944 on the Wessel Islands. Some are from the Dutch East India Company and some came from Africa.