Registrato: 22/03/19 08:38
|JERUSALEM , Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- A fortune of at least 2,000 ancient gold coins were discovered accidentally by scuba divers offshore Israel about two weeks ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday.
The largest gold trove ever discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor of Caesarea National Park , the Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
The 11th-century coins were discovered by chance by a group of divers from a diving club in the harbor.
According to them, at first they thought they had spotted a toy coin from a game and it was only after they understood the coin was "the real thing" that they collected several coins and quickly returned to the shore in order to inform the director of the dive club about their find.
Kobi Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority , called the trove "a fascinating and rare historical evidence of life in the past."
He said the treasure was hidden under the seabed for centuries until it was exposed by the recent winter storms that battered the region in recent weeks.
He added that such a large hoard of coins suggest a tremendous economic power. It may indicate that the gold was transported on an official treasury boat that sank on its way to the central government in Egypt with taxes that had been collected, he said.
The earliest coin exposed in the treasure is a quarter dinar minted in Palermo, Sicily in the second half of the ninth century.
Most of the coins though belonged to the Fatimid caliphs Al-Hakim (996-1021) and his son Al-Zahir (1021-1036) and were minted in Egypt and North Africa.
According to Robert Cole , an Israeli expert of currency who examined the find, "the coins are in an excellent state of preservation, despite the fact they were at the bottom of the sea for about a thousand years... because gold is a noble metal and is not affected by air or water."
He added that several coins that were found in the assemblage were bent and exhibit teeth and bite marks , "it's evidence that they were 'physically' inspected by their owners or the merchants."
Other coins bear signs of wear and abrasion from use while others seem as though they were just minted.
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