The largest treasure of gold coins ever discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor in Caesaria National Park.
A local group of divers found the lost treasure. 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 of them and reported to the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Divers of the Israel Antiquities Authority arrived and, using a metal detector, located almost 2,000 gold coins in different denominations: a dinar, half dinar and quarter dinar, of various dimensions and weights.
Kobi Sharvit of the Antiquities Authority said the rare find was exposed during winter storms. “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. 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. Another theory is that the treasure was money belonging to a large merchant ship that traded with the coastal cities and the port on the Mediterranean Sea and sank there.”
According to Robert Cole, an expert numismaticist, “The coins are in an 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 from the metallurgical laboratory. This is because gold is a noble metal and is not affected by air or water.”