If you’ve ever found some money in a jacket pocket or pair of pants that you haven’t worn for awhile, then you’ve kind of experienced what some spelunker treasure-finders in Israel did. The only difference is that the pocket they dug into was in a cave wall, and the loot they found was over 2,000 years old.
Hen Zakai was spelunking in a cave in Northern Israel, accompanied by his father and a friend, exploring the hidden passages of the natural wonder when something shiny caught his eye, reports CNN. Upon further examination, Hakai reached into a tiny alcove in the cave wall and discovered some silver coins, followed by the rest of a stash of Israel treasure, believed to have been hidden there around 2,300 years ago, in the time of Alexander the Great.
Though not exploring the cave for Israel treasure, the three actually being members of an Israeli caving club and spelunking at the time to explore and adventure, finding the Israel treasure has opened up some doors to the past for those that recognize the symbols on the coins and other treasure.
“We saw the pictures of some of the items that were found in the cave,” said the deputy director of the Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit At Israel Antiquities Authority, Eitan Klein.”We understood that we are talking about something very, very unique.”
The two coins found with the Israel treasure are believed to have been minted in the times of Alexander the Great, which is a pretty good bet since both pieces of the Israel treasure are stamped with Alexander’s image and he ruled the area toward the end of the fourth century B.C. On the flip side of the coins, Zeus is featured, sitting on his throne.
Armed with the information divulged by the coins, archaeologists were able to approximate that the Israel treasure was probably hidden in the cave 2,300 years ago.
According to the Daily Mail, along with the Alexander the Great coins, other items included with the Israel treasure find were silver and bronze bracelets, and a cloth satchel containing more coins.
As for who may have hidden the Israel treasure all those years ago, before the birth of Christ, a spokesman for the Israel Antiquities Authority explained that it was likely locals who had to get out of town following Alexander’s death, because of the power vacuum of fighting between Alexander’s heirs.
“The valuables might have been hidden in the cave by local residents who fled there during the period of governmental unrest stemming from the death of Alexander, a time when the Wars of the Diadochi broke out in Israel between Alexander’s heirs following his death… Presumably the cache was hidden in the hope of better days, but today we know that whoever buried the treasure never returned to collect it.”
With Alexander the Great’s death known to be in 323 B.C., the pieces of the story all fall together to make archaeologists relatively confident that it was not too long later that the Israel treasure was stashed.
The location of the cave where the Israel treasure was found has been kept secret, but researchers returned and found “considerable evidence” that the caves were once homes for people and contained more Israel treasure for the researchers, with some items dating back 5,000, and even 6,000 years ago.
[Image by Clara Amit via Israel Antiquities Authority]