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Archaeologists find buried treasure at Abbey of Cluny in France

"This discovery will breathe new life into research delving into the past of the abbey, a historic site open to the public," predicted the French National Center for Scientific Research.

By
Brooks Hays
The silver coins were found enclosed in a hide sack and buried at the Cluny Abbey. Photo by Anne Baud-Anne Flammin-Vincent Borrel/CNRS
The silver coins were found enclosed in a hide sack and buried at the Cluny Abbey. Photo by Anne Baud-Anne Flammin-Vincent Borrel/CNRS

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Archaeologists have unearthed a mound of buried treasure at the Abbey of Cluny in France. The find was announced Tuesday by the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS.

The haul included 2,200 silver deniers and oboles, 21 Islamic gold dinars, a signet ring and several other gold objects.

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"Never before has such a large cache of silver deniers been discovered," CNRS announced in a news release. "Nor have gold coins from Arab lands, silver deniers, and a signet ring ever been found hoarded together within a single, enclosed complex."

The excavation began in mid-September and was completed in late October. It was carried out by researchers from CNRS and the University of Lyon.

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In addition to the coins, scientists recovered a folded sheet of gold foil stored in a protective case, as well as a circular gold trinket.

Archaeologists believe the majority of the coins were minted at the Abbey of Cluny during the first half of the 12th century. The treasure was found stored inside a tanned hide bundle.

The Islamic gold dinars were minted between 1121 and 1131 in Spain and Morocco, during the reign of Ali ibn Yusuf, the fifth king of the Almoravid dynasty, an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty.

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The Abbey of Cluny was founded in 910 AD. It grew from modest beginnings to become on the largest Christian church in Europe until the construction of Rome's St. Peter's Basilica in the 17th century.

"This discovery will breathe new life into research delving into the past of the abbey, a historic site open to the public," CNRS predicted.

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