Aug. 18, 1957: Amateur archaeologist Guy Mellgren, according to his own report, finds an 11th-century Norwegian coin at the Goddard prehistoric archaeological site on Naskeag Point in Brooklin.

The coin, since donated to the Maine State Museum, has given rise to theories that Norsemen from that period traveled to Maine, or that local tribes acquired the coin in trade from people who had contact with the Norse explorers who landed to the north.

Some researchers have suggested that although the coin appears to be real, the claim that it was discovered at the site might be a hoax, or its origin has been misinterpreted.

Archaeologist Bruce Bourque, author of “12,000 Years in Maine” and a lecturer in archaeology at Bates College, notes in a 1993 interview that trade among indigenous groups was common along the Atlantic coast before wide-scale European settlement began. Local people in Labrador probably got the coin from Norse explorers, and it made its way through the trade network to Maine, just as stones that originated in Labrador did, Bourque says.

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Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:


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