Guwahati: Locals digging up a pond in Assam’s Charaideo district on Saturday recovered a large number of antique coins from the 300-year-old Ahom dynasty.
“The antiques were dug out during the excavation of the pond by the job card holders of Naharpukhuri Panchayat, which is one of the beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA),” said Dipak Kumar Hendique, deputy commissioner of Charaideo.
However, only 16 coins could be recovered by the administration. “Most of the coins were already taken away by the workers and there were barely 16 coins left for the administration,” the deputy commissioner said.
As per some reports, an urn filled with octagonal coins and belonging to Ahom and Mughal dynasties was also recovered. It has been sent to the archaeological department for examination.
The Ahom dynasty (1228–1826) ruled the Ahom kingdom in Assam for nearly 600 years. The dynasty was established by Sukaphaa, a Shan prince of Mong Mao who came to Assam after crossing the Patkai mountains. The dynasty’s rule ended with the Burmese invasion of Assam and the subsequent annexation by the British East India Company following the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826.
The Ahom Kingdom was able to withstand invasions from the Bengal sultanate and even the Mughal empire, although the king was forced to pay some tribute and Aurangzeb even briefly issued coins in Assam. Eventually, the kingdom was defeated by invading Burmese armies in 1821-22. At that point, the British stepped in and made Assam a British protectorate in 1825.
The earliest coins from the Ahom kingdom date from the 15th century. Originally, the coins were round, but in the 16th century the shape of the coins was made octagonal, supposedly because the Yogini Tantra mentions that Kamarupa is eight-sided. The octagonal shape and the long series makes these coins highly popular with collectors.