Divers Discover Ancient Coins in Israel

A group of divers may have come across one of the biggest gold discoveries in the history of the country.

The divers discovered 2,000 coins that are believed to date back to the eleventh century during the Fatimid period. The diver’s decided it was in the best interest to let the Marine Archeology Unit salvage the coins and the divers handed the coins over to the Israeli Antiquities Authority; an act that has given the divers the titles of “model citizens.” If they tried to keep or sell the coins, they could have faced charges leading up to five years in prison.

The find was exhumed in the harbor of Caesarea National Park and in a press release from the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The discovery of such a large hoard of coins that had such tremendous economic power in antiquity raises several possibilities regarding its presence on the seabed.”

Kobi Sharvit, Director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority then went on in the statement to say, “There is probably a shipwreck there of an official treasury boat which was on its way to the central government in Egypt with taxes that had been collected.”

While it is uncertain about the purpose of the gold, some researchers and archeologists may believe that the coins were meant to repay members of the Fatimid military garrison stationed at Caesarea, Israel. Sharvit believes this could have been their purpose, but also says that they may have belonged to a sunken merchant ship.

An expert numismatists is someone who studies currency, a position that Robert Cole holds and states, “The coins are in excellent state of preservation, and despite the fact they were at the bottom of the sea for about a thousand years, they did not require any cleaning or conservation intervention.”

Photo By: Israel Antiquities Authority


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