Ian McIntosh, director of international partnerships at IUPUI, has recently found his name in the news on a global scale.
“It’s quite extraordinary,” McIntosh said.
In July, McIntosh is set to head an expedition to Australia’s Wessel Islands, where he and his team could rewrite Australia’s history books.
The focus of the expedition stems from the discovery of five African coins that were found in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1944. The coins have proven to be more than 1,000 years old.
During World War II, an Australian soldier found the coins and held on to them until 1979, when he sent them to a museum to have them identified.
“They’re worth not very much themselves, but in terms of Australian history and where they’re found, they’re priceless,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh was asked if he wanted to mount an expedition twenty years ago, but there wasn’t enough interest behind it at that time, he said.
“We have interest now,” McIntosh said.
The Australian scientist said he’s been quoted in articles in Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa, Holland and even Pakistan.
Some of the questions he hopes to answer relate to how 1,000-year-old coins made their way to a secluded island off the coast of Australia.
McIntosh said that the coins could have come from a shipwreck. The Islands are situated on an ancient trade route that connected regions such as Southeast Asia and East Africa.
In addition, McIntosh and his team of researchers are hoping that the coins lead them to other evidence surrounding the continent’s past.
“It’s like a big detective puzzle,” McIntosh said, discussing the upcoming expedition. “They situate Australia in a different frame of relevance.”