A stash of 1,200-year-old gold coins were found in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority near the southern city of Yavneh.
The 7 coins, from the Early Islamic Period, were stashed in small clay juglet.
“I was in the middle of cataloging a large number of artifacts we found during the excavations when all of a sudden I heard shouts of joy,” said Liat Nadav-Ziv, co-director alongside Dr. Elie Haddad of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“I ran towards the shouting and saw Marc Molkondov, a veteran archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority approaching me excitedly. We quickly followed him to the field where we were surprised at the sight of the treasure."
Inspection of the gold coins conducted by Dr. Robert Kool, an expert on ancient coins at the Israel Antiquities Authority, dates them to the early Abbasid Period (9th century CE). Among the coins, is a gold Dinar from the reign of the Caliph Haroun A-Rashid (786-809 CE), on whom the popular story “Arabian Nights” also known as “One Thousand and One Nights” was based.
The find also includes coins that are rarely found in Israel” Dr. Kool said. “These are gold dinars issued by the Aghlabid dynasty that ruled in North Africa, in the region of modern Tunisia, on behalf of the Abbasid Caliphate centered in Bagdad,” he concluded.
The excavations revealed an ancient industrial area that was active for several hundred years and included an unusually large amount of pottery kilns from the end of the Byzantine and beginning of the Early Islamic period (7th – 9th centuries CE).
The kilns were for commercial production of store-jars, cooking pots and bowls.
The gold coins were found inside a small juglet, near the entrance to one of the kilns and according to the archaeologists could have been the potter’s personal savings.
In a different area of the site, the remains of a large industrial installation dating back to the Persian period (4th – 5th centuries BCE) was revealed, that was used for the production of wine.
According to Dr. Haddad of the Israel Antiquities Authority, initial analysis of the contents of the installation revealed ancient grape seeds.
The size and number of vats found indicated that wine was produced on a commercial scale, well beyond the local needs of Yavneh’s ancient inhabitants”.