(Communicated by the Israel Ministry of Tourism)
One of the largest gold treasures ever to be discovered in Israel was
uncovered last week at an archaeological dig near Herzliya. The treasure, more
than 100 gold pieces and weighing approximately 400 grams (nearly one pound), is
estimated at a value of more than $100,000.The coins were found hidden in a
partly broken pottery vessel at the Apollonia National Park, where
archaeologists say the former Crusader
town of Apollonia-Arsuf once thrived. The dig is being carried out under the
joint auspices of Tel Aviv University and the Nature and Parks Authority.
Included among the items found were 108 gold coins, including 93 that weighed
four grams each, and 15 that weighed 1 gram each. The gold was not new and
clearly was part of someone's family treasure or business investment. The coins
were minted in Egypt approximately 250 years prior to their burial under the
floor tiles of the 13th century CE fortress that has been under excavation for
more than 30 years. A large cache of arrowheads - hundreds, in fact - and other
weaponry, including stones used in catapults, also was found. Archaeologists
said the find indicated a fierce battle had taken place at the time the Mameluks
seized the area from the Crusaders.
The Crusader fortress had been uncovered at the site some time ago, along
with remains of a port city dating back to the time of the Phoenicians.
Archaeologists have also found the remains of a Roman villa, a well-preserved
market street from the Early Islamic period and a massive gate complex.