Illinois scientists stumbled upon a 600-year-old Chinese coin while on the Kenyan island of Manda, the Field Museum of Chicago announced Wednesday (March 13).
Scientists say the currency was issued by Emperor Yongle of China in the 1400s, whose name is written on the coin. The discovery proves that trade existed between China and eastern Africa, according to researchers.
The joint expedition to find the copper and silver money piece was spearheaded by Chapurukha Kusimba of the museum and Sloan Williams of the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Scientists from Kenya, Pennsylvania and Ohio who also joined the trip, found human remains and artifacts older than the coin.