Dozens Of 7th Century Gold Coins Found In Ancient Wall By Israeli Archaeologists

Forty-four pure gold coins were recently found hidden in a wall during excavations at the Banias archaeological site within the Hermon River nature reserve in the north of the country.

Weighing about 170 grams, they were found hidden in an ashlar stone wall during an excavation of a Roman-era city that also uncovered bronze coins and the remains of buildings, water channels and pipes, Israeli authorities said.

After Byzantine sovereignty in the region came to an end in 635, experts think they were hidden during the Muslim conquest.

The Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Roman Empire, was the longest-lasting medieval empire, surviving for more than 1,000 years.

The director of the excavation operation, Yoav Lerer said that the “discovery reflects a specific moment in time”.

“We can imagine the owner concealing his fortune in the threat of war, hoping to return one day to retrieve his property,” he said.

“In retrospect, we know that he was less fortunate.

“The discovery of the coin hoard may also shed light on the economy of the city of Banias during the last 40 years of Byzantine rule.”

According to Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky, a currency expert at the Israel Antiquities Authority, some of the coins are thought to be those of Emperor Phocas (602 to 610), while the majority were of his successor Heraclius (610 to 641).

The Heraclius coins date back to the time of the Muslim Conquest.

In the Christian tradition, Banias is a significant place, as it is where Jesus is said to have told the apostle Peter: “On this rock, I will build my church.”

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