Egypt dig uncovers coins more than 2,250 years old

April 22, 2010
An undated handout picture released by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities shows two coins dating back to the era of Ptolemy III 222-246 BC, discovered in an Egyptian oasis, south of the capital Cairo.

Archaeologists have uncovered bronze coins bearing the image of ancient Egyptian ruler King Ptolemy III in an oasis south of the capital, the culture ministry announced on Thursday.

Also found by the Egyptian team were necklaces made of ostrich eggshell, it said.

The 383 items dating back more than 2,250 years were found near Lake Qarun in Fayum oasis, around 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Cairo, the ministry said in a statement, adding that they were in excellent condition.

The weighed 32 grams (1.12 ounces) each, with one face depicting the god Amun and the other the words "king" and "Ptolemy III" in Greek along with his effigy, the statement said.

Other objects from different periods were also found during the dig, in addition to parts of a whale skeleton around 42 million years old, it added.

The ministry said it was the first time Egyptian had found necklaces made from ostrich eggshell at Fayum.

Of Greek origin, the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled from around 330 BC to 30 BC and was Egypt's last before the country fell under Roman rule. Queen Cleopatra was the dynasty's final sovereign.

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