Israel: Archaeologists discover large hoard of gold coins
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Archaeologists stumbled upon the real-life Indiana Jones treasure in the city of Ramla in central Israel in 2006. An excavation carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) unearthed a collection of coins, jewellery and other artefacts amid the ruins of homes and shops. In one shop, the archaeologists found a juglet of gold coins or dinars from the Abbasid and Fatimid periods (eighth to 11th centuries AD).
Archaeologists made a similar discovery in Jerusalem’s Old City when they uncovered a cache of Islamic coins more than 1,000-years-old.
The Ramla treasures also included bronze weights and a balance scale used by the shop, as well as gold and six silver bracelets.
The IAA said in a Facebook post on Wednesday: “The jewellery dates to the Fatimid period (11th century CE) and reflects the richness and the splendour that characterizes the silver and gold jewellery of that period.
“The bracelets vary in shape and in the techniques with which they were made.
“The most magnificent of them is a gold bracelet adorned at either end with splendid floral decorations and in its centre with a two word Arabic inscription meaning ‘I wish you a complete blessing’.”
Another item that stands out among the crowd is a silver hoop with an amulet box attached to it.
The box is adorned with floral patterns and verses from the Koran “praising the Lord and his oneness”.
Two of the biggest items in the hoard are silver leg bracelets that weighed 170 grams each.
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Similar bracelets have been found in the past near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – the holiest site in the Jewish world as well as an important place of worship for Muslims.
But the type of gold bracelets found in Ramla has so far only been known to Israeli archaeologists from museum collections.
The IAA said: “This was the first time that bracelets made of gold were found in a proper archaeological excavation.
“Would you like to see the amazing treasure yourself?
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“The bracelets are on display in the Israel Museum (that is now opened to the public).”
Earlier this year, the IAA revealed how divers off the coast of Israel uncovered a hoard of ancient coins and statues.
The rare treasures were found in the Roman harbour of Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast.
A few years ago, a pair of divers discovered a 1,600-year-old Roman cargo ship at the bottom of the harbour.
The shipwreck was packed with a variety of exciting artefacts, prompting a full-scale exploration of the vessel.
Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the IAA, and deputy director Dror Planer, said: “The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbour and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks.”
An excavation at the Caesarea Harbor National Park has also uncovered a ram statue, believed to be a representation of Jesus Christ.
Even more surprisingly, the statue was discovered on Christmas Eve, 2015.
Dr Peter Gendelman and Mohammad Hater of the IAA, said: “Caesarea never ceases to surprise as evidenced by this amazing statue that was discovered today.”
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