Coins dating back to the Abbasid period about 1100 years ago were buried in an earthen vessel. Their total weight was 845 grams (about 30 ounces) and represented a small fortune for a family living at the end of the 9th century.
It was amazing. I dug into the ground and saw what looked like very thin leaves. When I looked again, I saw that they were gold coins. It was really interesting to find such a special and ancient treasure.
Oz Cohen, one of the guys who found the coins
Pure gold coins were found in pristine condition due to the unique properties of the precious metal, which is resistant to corrosion and does not oxidize in air.
In the cache, along with gold coins, there were also 270 small gold “cuts”, which are fractional parts of the original dinars, which served as “small change” during this period.
The person who buried this treasure 1100 years ago must have expected to find it and even secured the vessel with a nail to keep it from moving. We can only guess what prevented him from returning for this treasure.
Liat Nadav-Ziv and Dr. Eli Haddad, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority
According to Dr. Robert Kool, a coin expert with the Authority, that amount could buy a luxury home in one of the best areas of Fustat, Egypt’s extremely wealthy capital in those days.
Of particular interest to researchers was the carving depicting the Byzantine emperor Theophilus (829−842 AD). The coin was minted in the capital of the empire – Constantinople. This is an amazing find, since all the other coins in the jar were minted by the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate, which stretched from Persia to North Africa and was centered in Baghdad in Iraq. The combination of coinage provided some evidence that rival empires had permanent connections during this period, whether through war or trade.
This rare treasure will no doubt be an important contribution to research, as there are relatively few finds from the Abbasid period in Israel. I hope the study of the treasure will tell us more about a period about which we still know so little.
Dr. Robert Cool, Coin Expert