875 גרם זהב טהור
A hoard of gold coins discovered at an archeological site in central Israel
Photo: Israel Antiquities Authorities
A hoard of gold coins discovered at an archeological site in central Israel

Central Israel dig unearths large trove of early Islamic gold coins

Archaeologists uncover collection of 425 complete coins, with most dating to the Golden Age of the Abbasid Caliphate around 1,100 years ago; fragments could be evidence of trade with rival Byzantine Empire

Associated Press |
Published: 08.24.20 , 15:14
Israeli archaeologists announced on Monday the discovery of a trove of early Islamic gold coins found during recent salvage excavations near the central city of Yavneh.
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  • The collection of 425 complete gold coins, most dating to the Abbasid period around 1,100 years ago, was a “extremely rare” find, Israel Antiquities Authorities archaeologists Liat Nadav-Ziv and Elie Haddad said in a joint statement.
    875 גרם זהב טהור875 גרם זהב טהור
    A hoard of gold coins discovered at an archeological site in central Israel
    (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authorities)
    The trove, which was unearthed by youth volunteers, also included hundreds of smaller clippings from gold coins that would have served as smaller denominations, with some depicting the Byzantine Emperor Theophilos (829 – 842 CE), hinting at a possible commercial relationship between the two rival kingdoms.
    שבר מטבע ביזנטי נדיר של הקיסר תיאופילוסשבר מטבע ביזנטי נדיר של הקיסר תיאופילוס
    Byzantine fragment found in central Israel dig depicting Emperor Theophilos
    (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authorities)
    Robert Kool, a coin expert with the Antiquities Authority, said an initial analysis indicates the coins date from the late 9th century, considered the golden age of the Abbasid Caliphate that controlled most of the Near East and North Africa.
    Kool added that the total weight of the hoard — around 845 grams of pure gold — would have been a significant amount of money at the end of the 9th century.
    המטמון התגלה בחפירות ליד יבנההמטמון התגלה בחפירות ליד יבנה
    Israeli archaeologist Shahar Krispin displays gold coins that was discovered at an archeological site in central Israel
    (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authorities)
    The discovery was among the largest caches of ancient coins found in Israel.
    In 2015, amateur divers found around 2,000 gold coins off the coast of the ancient port city of Caesarea dating to the Fatimid period in the 10th and 11th centuries.
    “Hopefully the study of the hoard will tell us more about a period of which we still know very little,” Kool said.
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