Wednesday, September 21, 2011

India's $22B treasure trove has great 'archeological significance': expert

While one of India's richest temples is garnering worldwide attention for its estimated $22-billion treasure trove, a Canadian researcher says archeologists, scholars, economists and even jewellers are eager to flock to the site to study its historical impact.

The haul from the underground chambers of a medieval Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, India, included enormous quantities of gold coins dating back to the era of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, and silk bundles full of diamonds, jewelry and Belgian gold — all artifacts that could help researchers paint of a picture of what world trade looked like between the 16th and 19th century, said Amitava Chowdhury, a Queen's University history professor who was an archeologist in Mauritius for several years.

"This finding showed the kind of international trade in billions of precious items, the evolution of jewelry and stone cutting, coins from all over the world. As an archeologist, what's interesting to me is what you can find out about various cultures based on these precious commodities," he said.

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