1200 year old treasure of gold coins found at excavations in Yavneh

1200 year old treasure of gold coins found at excavations in Yavneh

A treasure of seven good coins was found during excavations in Yavneh that were hidden in a broken jug made of clay. This was probably the savings of a potter.

The gold coins date from the early Islamic period. The excavations revealed an old industrial area that was active for several hundred years.

I was cataloguing a large number of artifacts that we found during the excavations when I suddenly heard screams of joy,” said Liat Nadav-Ziv, co-director with Dr. Elie Haddad of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“I ran to them and saw Marc Molkondov, a veteran archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who came to me excitedly. We quickly followed him to the field where we were surprised to see the treasure. This is without doubt a unique and exciting find, especially during the Hanukkah holidays”.

Inspection of the Yavneh gold coins carried out by Dr. Robert Kool, an expert on ancient coins at the Israel Antiquities Authority, learned that the goud  coins are from the early Abbasid period (9th century CE).

Among the coins is a gold Dinar from the reign of the caliph Haroun A-Rashid (786-809 CE), on which the popular story ‘Arabian Nights’, also known as ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, was based. “The treasure also contains coins that are rarely found in Israel,” says Dr. Kool. “These are gold dinars issued by the Aghlabid dynasty that ruled North Africa, in the region of modern Tunisia, on behalf of the Abbasid caliphate centred in Baghdad”. “No doubt this is a wonderful Hanukkah gift for us” concluded Dr. Kool.

The large-scale excavation, carried out southeast of Tel Yavneh, revealed an unusually large amount of pottery kilns that were active at the end of the Byzantine and the beginning of the early Islamic period (7th – 9th centuries CE). The kilns were for commercial production of storage pots, cooking pots and bowls. The golden treasure was found in a small jug, at the entrance of one of the kilns and according to the archaeologists it could have been the personal savings of the potter.

In another part of the site, the remains of a large industrial plant from the Persian period (4th – 5th centuries BC) used for the production of wine were unveiled. According to Dr. Haddad of the Israel Antiquities Authority “the first analysis of the contents of the plant revealed ancient grape seeds.

The size and number of barrels found on the site indicated that wine was produced on a commercial scale, far more than necessary for the local needs of the ancient inhabitants of Yavneh “.

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