Rare crusader era gold cache discovered in port of Caesarea

December 4, 2018 by Yona Schnitzer - TPS
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The Israeli Antiquities Authority has announced a cache of 24 rare gold coins and a 900-year-old gold earring have been discovered at the port of Caesarea.

Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority on 3 December, 2018

The discovery was made during extensive excavation and conservation work in the Caesarea Port, which was sponsored by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation.

The gold cache was found hidden between two stones in the side of a well, located in a house in a neighbourhood dating to the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, some 900 years ago.

According to the directors of the excavation, Dr. Peter Gendelman and Mohammed Hatar of the Israel Antiquities Authority,  the coins in the cache date back to the end of the eleventh century, which “make it possible to link the treasure to the Crusader conquest of the city in the year 1101, one of the most dramatic events in the medieval history of the city.

“According to contemporary written sources, most of the inhabitants of Caesarea were massacred by the army of Baldwin I(1100–1118), king of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. It is reasonable to assume that the treasure’s owner and his family perished in the massacre or were sold into slavery, and therefore were not able to retrieve their gold,” they added.

Other archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority called the cache a “silent testimony to one of the most dramatic events in the history of Caesarea — the violent conquest of the city by the Crusaders. Someone hid their fortune, hoping to retrieve it — but never returned.”

“With its discovery, we immediately mobilized our resources and this rare find is now displayed at the Caesarea Port from today onwards for the duration of the Chanukah holiday,” said Michael Karsenti, CEO of the Caesarea Development Corporation.

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