Phoenician coins and Phoenician exploration

Prof. Dr. Mark A. McMenamin

Numismatic evidence favoring the hypothesis of a Carthaginian presence in North America has recently come to light. The evidence is twofold. The first piece of evidence consists of a particular group of early Carthaginian gold coins (called staters) that bear a map (derived from modified Punic letters) showing both the Old World and the New World. Going from east to west, the maps show India, the south coast of Europe above Sardinia and Sicily, and America.

The second piece of evidence consists of a series of seven or eight copper coins found scattered across North America from Nebraska to Georgia to Connecticut. The coins have an image of a Punic horse, the Phoenician palm tree (uprooted as if to be transplanted) and an enigmatic inscription in the Punic Language. It seems unlikely that these coins were brought across the Atlantic in modern times, and if authentic they suggest a Carthaginian presence in ancient America.

Taken separately, these pieces of evidence could be dismissed as some type of fluke or hoax, respectively. But taken together, along with the fact that Carthaginian gold and base metal coins were reported from the Azores in 1778, the available evidence suggests that the Carthaginians had the ability to cross the Atlantic at will.