A major discovery of more than 2,000 gold coins off the north-central coast of Israel could prove to be a part of the largest gold hoard ever found in the eastern Mediterranean, say archaeologists. The discovery highlights the long history of gold as money.
The coins have been identified as dinars, which was the official currency of the Fatimid caliphate that ruled parts of the Mediterranean from AD 909 to 1171.
The coins were found in early February when a team of six sport divers found what they initially mistook as a few toy coins on the seabed near the ancient harbor of Caesarea. The divers immediately notified the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Divers from the IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit accompanied the group back to the site and were stunned at what they had found.
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