Archeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority last week unearthed one of the largest gold caches ever discovered, the result of a massive three-year-long excavation.

Searching underneath the tiles of a room inside what was formerly a Crusader fortress in Apollonia, a student at the university unearthed 108 gold coins minted around the year 1,000 CE in Egypt. The discovery is valued at over $100,000. During the course of the excavation, archeologists also discovered rare glass utensils, shards, arrowheads and catapult stones.

Tel Aviv University Prof. Oren Tal stated his belief that the coins were buried deliberately by the owner, who intended to retrieve the stash at a later date.

“I think the stash was deliberately buried in a partly broken vessel,” said Tal, “which was filled with sand and buried under the floor tiles so if anyone were to discover it, he would simply believe it to be a broken pot, and ignore it.”

Tal, who headed the digging team, added that “the findings indicate a prolonged siege and a harsh battle that took place at the site.”

The crusaders used Apollonia, then known as Arsur, as a stronghold city in the 13th century. The city passed between Christian and Muslim hands, and was eventually captured and razed by the Mamluks.

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