Gold coin discovered in Apollonia .
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
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