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Large trove of early Islamic gold coins discovered in Israel

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A hoard of gold coins discovered at an archeological site in central Israel.
A hoard of gold coins discovered at an archeological site in central Israel.   -   Copyright  Heidi Levine/Heidi Levine
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A trove of early Islamic gold coins have been unearthed during a recent dig in the central Israeli city of Yavne, archaeologists said Monday.

The collection of 425 whole gold coins, most dating to the Abbasid period around 1,100 years ago, was was a “extremely rare” find, Israel Antiquities Authorities archaeologists Liat Nadav-Ziv and Elie Haddad said in a joint statement.

The coins were unearthed by youth volunteers over the last few days.

Hundreds of other smaller clippings from gold coins that would have served as smaller denominations were also discovered.

Initial analysis indicates the coins date back from the late 9th century, according to Robert Kool, a coin expert with the antiquities authority.

Heidi Levine/Heidi Levine
Israeli archaeologists have announced the discovery of a trove of early Islamic gold coins during recent salvage excavations near the central city of Yavn Tel Aviv.Heidi Levine/Heidi Levine

The period is is considered the golden age of the Abbasid Caliphate that controlled most of the Near East and North Africa.

“Hopefully the study of the hoard will tell us more about a period of which we still know very little,” Kool said.

The discovery was among the largest caches of ancient coins found in Israel.

In 2015, amateur divers found around 2,000 gold coins off the coast of the ancient port city of Caesarea dating to the Fatimid period in the 10th and 11th centuries.