Finding 2,000 gold coins is the stuff of treasure-hunting dreams, and for a group of divers a chance discovery brought the dream to life.
The amateur divers were reportedly swimming off the coast of Israel a few weeks ago near the Mediterranean harbor of Caesarea. During their dive, they spotted an item gleaming on the sea floor.
A closer look revealed that the shiny object was, in fact, a gold coin. A survey of the area led to the group finding several other gold coins.
Stunned, the divers reported their find to the head of their diving club, who in turn immediately contacted the Israel Antiques Authority.
“After quickly organizing, divers of the Israel Antiquities Authority went together with the group of divers out to where the coins were found and using a metal detector discovered almost 2,000 gold coins in different denominations: a dinar, half dinar and quarter dinar, of various dimensions and weight.”
On Tuesday, the organization revealed that thanks to these amateur divers, Israel recovered what is possibly one of the most significant archaeological finds in the nation’s history. Not to mention the largest hoard of gold ever found in the area.
Careful examination of the discovered gold coins revealed that they each had different monetary values rather than being a collection of the same type of coin. Divers found dinar, half dinar, and quarter dinar coins.
The total weight of the treasure is said to be about 13 pounds.
Even more amazing, this treasure trove is believed to have sat untouched on the sea floor for around 1,000 years!
The Israel Antiques Authority has theory for how the coins ended up in their long undisturbed location.
“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. Perhaps the treasure of coins was meant to pay the salaries of the Fatimid military garrison which was stationed in Caesarea and protected the city.”
“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.”
The organization revealed that their Marine Archaeological Unit intended to perform a full excavation of the area where the coins were found in order to find answers. They hope to potentially even locate the ship the gold coins may have been on when they fell into the Mediterranean Sea many centuries ago.
What’s perhaps most amazing about the discovery of these gold coins is that this historical find was possible through the integrity of the original group of divers.
Kobi Sharvit, the director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, hailed the original treasure locators as “model citizens” for reporting their rare and significant discovery rather than keeping the gold.
“These divers are model citizens. They discovered the gold and have a heart of gold that loves the country and its history.”
[Image Credit: Israel Antiques Authority]