Ancient gold coin hoard found in Israel

July 10, 2012 at 6:33 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, July 10 (UPI) -- A hoard of buried gold coins uncovered in an Israeli coastal city, valued at $100,000, is one of the country's largest-ever such finds, archaeologists say.

The hoard of 108 gold coins were minted in Egypt about 250 years before being buried in the floor of a 13th century fortress at Apollonia Park, about 15 miles north of Tel Aviv, Ha'aretz reported Sunday.

The excavation, begun three years ago, has yielded numerous findings shedding light on the Crusader Period and of the fortress' last days, a joint Tel Aviv University and Nature and Parks Authority research team said.

Researchers said they believe one of the fortress' leaders hid the cache of coins to prevent Muslim conquerors from finding it, possibly hoping to retrieve it at a later date.

The Christian Order of the Knights Hospitaller ruled the fortress and the surrounding city.

"I believe that the stash was deliberately buried in a partly broken vessel, which was then filled with sand and laid under the floor," TAU researcher Oren Tal said.

"So if anyone found it, he would think it's a broken pot and pay no attention."

However, "The findings indicate a prolonged siege and a harsh battle that took place at the site," Oren said.

In March 1265, Mamluke Sultan Baybars stormed the city and captured it after 40 days of siege.

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