900-year-old gold coins found in Israel

A picture taken on December 3, 2018, shows an ancient gold coin uncovered at an excavation site in the Israeli Mediterranean tow
A picture taken on December 3, 2018, shows an ancient gold coin uncovered at an excavation site in the Israeli Mediterranean town of Caesarea

Rare gold coins and a golden earring have been discovered in the ancient Mediterranean port of Caesarea in northern Israel—possibly left and never recovered as Crusaders conquered the area 900 years ago.

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the find on Monday of a small bronze pot holding 24 gold coins and the earring.

According to the authority, it was found between two stones in the side of a well in a house in a neighbourhood that dates back some 900 years, during the Abbasid and Fatimid periods.

The directors of the excavation, the IAA's Peter Gendelman and Mohammed Hatar, said the coins in the cache date to the end of the 11th century.

That makes it possible "to link the treasure to the Crusader conquest of the city in the year 1101, one of the most dramatic events in the medieval history of the city", an IAA statement said.

"According to contemporary written sources, most of the inhabitants of Caesarea were massacred by the army of Baldwin I (1100–1118), king of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem," it added.

A picture taken on December 3, 2018, shows ancient gold coins and an earring uncovered at an excavation site in the Israeli Medi
A picture taken on December 3, 2018, shows ancient gold coins and an earring uncovered at an excavation site in the Israeli Mediterranean town of Caesarea
"It is reasonable to assume that the treasure's owner and his family perished in the massacre or were sold into slavery, and therefore were not able to retrieve their gold."

IAA expert Robert Kool said "one or two of these coins were the equivalent of the annual salary of a simple farmer, so it seems that whoever deposited the cache was at least well-to-do or involved in commerce".

Caesarea was constructed in the first century BC by King Herod at a time that Judea was part of the Roman empire.


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© 2018 AFP

Citation: 900-year-old gold coins found in Israel (2018, December 3) retrieved 17 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-year-old-gold-coins-israel.html
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Dec 03, 2018
The coin shown appears to have the name of Emperor Basil ... not sure if Basil I or Basil II. Has that been confirmed?

Dec 04, 2018
The coin shown appears to have the name of Emperor Basil ... not sure if Basil I or Basil II. Has that been confirmed?


Basilaios / Basileios is the Greek word for king.

Dec 04, 2018
It can be difficult to separate the title from the name of the person in power. Those nomenclatures were often interchangeable.

Very inconsiderate of them to fail to take into account, that centuries later? The descendants of kitchen maids raped by stable boys, would be disputing such trivia.

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