The 900-year-old coins were discovered in the ancient city of Caesarea. Image Credit: Yaniv Berman.

A Rare Lost Treasure Dating Back to the Crusades Unearthed in Israel

The treasure dates back at least 900 years.

A cache of 900-year-old coins dating back to the crusades has been discovered in Israel by a group of archeologists.

In a recently released press release, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has announced the discovery of a bronze pot containing 24 gold coins and a golden earring in the ruins of a wall of the ancient city of Caesarea.

Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation
Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation

“The coins in the cache dating to the end of the eleventh century 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,” explained dig leaders Dr. Peter Gendelman and Mohammed Hatar, of the IAA.

Archaeologists believe that the treasure owner buried it but could not recover it because he either fled or was massacred in the conquest of Caesarea’s city.

The crusade which captured the ancient city Caesarea was led by Baldwin I of Jerusalem.

Caesarea fell into Baldwin I’s hands on 17 May 1101 after a siege that lasted 15 days.

Most inhabitants of Caesarea were massacred by Baldwin I’s army.

“According to contemporary written sources, most of Caesarea’s inhabitants 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.”

Researchers say that out of the 2 coins, 14 are Fatimid dinars, used as a standard local currency at the time, while six of the coins were rare Byzantine imperial gold coins believed to have been minted between 1071–1079 CE.

Caesarea Maritima, located on the Mediterranean’s shores, was built in the first century before our era by King Herod I.

The important vestiges of the Roman and medieval eras make this ancient city one of Israel’s attractions.

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