Wed | May 4, 2016

Institute of Jamaica to examine century-old coins

Published:Thursday | February 28, 2013 | 12:00 AM
A man points to a hole where in a piece of concrete structure a small chest with old coins was found during the construction of a car park in downtown Kingston yesterday. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Vincent Pollack, 66, who has spent his life in the downtown area, said he grew up hearing stories of a monastery being at that location before it became a warehouse for a pimento factory.

"From I growing up, I hear 'bout a seminary being here with priests and nuns from in the 17th century, them say. When me a go school, right here was a pimento factory," Pollack noted.

"Downtown is full of a lot of history, with a lot of old, historic places. Some of them are still around."

Dr Jonathan Greenland, director of the museum division of the Institute of Jamaica, is now preparing to examine the find to determine its worth.

As to the fate of the century-old relics, he said unlike other countries, the discovery belonged to whoever owned the land.

Greenland said in countries such as the United Kingdom, the Treasure Trove law allowed for the finder to get a percentage of the worth of whatever was discovered.

"The law in Jamaica, however, states that the objects belong to whoever land it was discovered on," he said.

"It is laws like this that allows the black market to get stronger when people don't own a part of what they discover, which allows the object to disappear and not ending up in the museum where it should be."

He said from an archaeological and historical perspective, the museum needed to know exactly where the objects were found.

"It really would be interesting to know exactly where they found them and how they got there," Greenland said.

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