Arsuf, Israel – Archaeologists working on a famous Crusader battlefield unearthed a stash of gold coins they announced yesterday. The dig site in Arsuf, Israel was the scene of many fierce battles between Muslims and Jews fighting for the Holy Land. The collection of coins was found in an ancient jug, hidden under a floorboard in the ancient castle.
Professor Oren Tal, the lead Archaeologist on the dig said,
“It is a rare find. We don’t have a lot of gold that had been circulated by the Crusaders,”
Arsuf, which overlooks the Mediterranean sea, was the place where in the 12th century Richard the Lionheart had come from England and waged a huge battle against famed Muslim General, Saladin. It was more than 80 years later when a different general returned with a larger army and laid siege to the city. After 40 days the outer wall of the castle fell and shortly after the army inside was destroyed.
Professor Tal believes that the stash of gold coins belonged to the Knights Hospitaller, who were the inhabitants of the castle in Arsuf. The treasure may have been used for payment the Knights were due to pay for leasing the land, or perhaps profits from industrial activities, Tal said.
The gold coins weigh about 400 grams (14 ounces) in total. Some were minted two centuries earlier in Egypt, and they will be studied over the next six months,
“The study of these coins will contribute to our understanding of how large-scale economic interactions were made at the time,” he said.