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The way that some of the first coins were viewed 2500 years ago is similar to how we regard computers today, writes Annalee Newitz

Technology

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1 September 2021

baona/Getty Images
WHAT may well be the oldest metal coins in the world have been identified by archaeologists at an ancient abandoned city known as Guanzhuang in China. Made of a bronze alloy, the coins were discovered in a well-preserved mint – complete with moulds and other tools – and carbon-dated to between 550 and 640 BC.
Like many Bronze Age coins from the region, they were cast in the shape of 14-centimetre-long spades, their stylised shovel blades attached to carefully crafted hollow handles. These ancient coins existed during a transitional period between barter and money, when coins were a novel concept, but everybody …

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