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2,000 Fatimid coins found off coast Palestine

 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:46 am    Post subject: 2,000 Fatimid coins found off coast Palestine Reply with quote

First reported by AFP
theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/divers-find-priceless-trove-of-gold-coins-off-israels-mediterranean-coast

Divers find 'priceless' hoard of gold coins off Israel's Mediterranean coast

Record haul of 2,000 coins found in an ancient harbour and belong to era of Fatimid Caliphate which ruled much of the Middle East and North Africa from 909 to 1171



The largest hoard of gold coins found in Israel was discovered in the seabed of a harbour in the Mediterranean Sea port of Caesarea National Park. Photograph: Clara Amit/ Israel Antiquities Authority/EPA

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday 18 February 2015 02.15 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 18 February 2015 13.29 GMT

Scuba divers have discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off Israel’s Mediterranean coast – about 2,000 pieces dating back more than 1,000 years, the country’s antiquities authority said on Tuesday.

“The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbour in Caesarea,” the authority said in a statement.

It was by pure chance that members of a diving club in the Roman-era port had come across the coins, which the authority said weighed nine kilograms (almost 20 pounds) but described as “priceless”.

“At first they thought they had spotted a toy coin from a game and it was only after they understood the coin was the real thing that they collected several coins and quickly returned to the shore in order to inform the director of the dive club about their find,” it said.
A scuba diver holds some of the gold coins recently found on the seabed in the ancient harbour in the Israeli town of Caesarea.
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A scuba diver holds some of the gold coins recently found on the seabed in the ancient harbour in the Israeli town of Caesarea. Photograph: Kobi Sharvit/AFP/Getty Images

Experts from the authority called to the site uncovered “almost 2,000 gold coins in different denominations” circulated by the Fatimid Caliphate, which ruled much of the Middle East and North Africa from 909 to 1171.

Kobi Sharvit, director of the marine archaeology unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said excavations would be carried out in the hope of shedding more light on the origin of the treasure.

“There is probably a shipwreck there of an official treasury boat which was on its way to the central government in Egypt with taxes that had been collected,” said Sharvit.

“Perhaps the treasure of coins was meant to pay the salaries of the Fatimid military garrison which was stationed in Caesarea and protected the city.

“Another theory is that the treasure was money belonging to a large merchant ship that traded with the coastal cities and the port on the Mediterranean Sea and sank there,” he said.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority declined to put a cash value on the coins, which it said had been exposed as a result of winter storms.

The find was “so valuable that its priceless,” spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz told AFP, adding the haul was now the property of the state, and that there was no finder’s fee.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timesofisrael.com/ancient-trove-of-gold-coins-found-off-coast/


Massive trove of ancient gold coins found off coast
Largest find ever, of over 2,000 coins dating back 1,000 years, uncovered by divers near Caesarea after storm; more treasure believed waiting


By Times of Israel staff February 17, 2015, 8:34 pm



Gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by divers (photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)


The largest gold treasure ever found in Israel was discovered by chance off the shore of the ancient port city of Caesarea, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.

At least 2,000 gold coins dating back over 1,000 years were found 12 meters underwater by a group of scuba divers earlier in February, who quickly reported the discovery to their the diving club manager, who then called in Israel Antiquities Authority officials.

Antiquities Authority divers, using metal detectors, went back to the site along with the original divers, and uncovered six kilograms worth of golden coins, which had been exposed due to winter storms, according to the authority’s statement.

They expect to find more coins in the area.
Gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by divers (photo credit: Kobi Sharvit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by divers (photo credit: Kobi Sharvit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

“The gold coins are in excellent condition, and despite remaining at the bottom of the sea for over 1,000 years, they did not need any conservation lab treatment,” Robert Cole, a coins expert at the Antiquities Authority said. Some of the coins were bent and had bite marks, indicating a physical authenticity check, according to Cole.

Yaakov Sharvit, head of marine archaeology at the antiquities authority, said he believes the coins, circulated by the Fatimid Caliphate who ruled over much of the Mediterranean coast of Africa and the Middle East between the 10th and 12th centuries, were aboard a ship that sunk off the Caesarean shore.

Islamic-era gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by Israeli marine archaeologists (photo credit: Kobi Sharvit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Islamic-era gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by Israeli marine archaeologists (photo credit: Kobi Sharvit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

“It may have been on a shipwreck that was carrying tax revenues to the central government in Egypt, or maybe salary payments for Fatimite soldiers guarding Caesarea,” Sharvit said in the IAA statement.

“It may also have been cash funds aboard a commercial ship that sunk at sea while trading in the area.”

Sharvit said he hopes archaeological digs in the area will shed further light on the discovery, and provide answers to the many questions regarding the treasure.

Caesarea was an important port city during the Fatimid Caliphate period, serving as a key location for maritime trade.

The coins were minted in various locations in the Fatimid kingdom, and included two types: a Dinar and a quarter Dinar. The oldest coin uncovered was minted in the Sicilian city of Palermo, dating back to the 9th century. The latest coin was minted in 1036, confirming the ship sunk sometime after that year, though an exact date could not yet be determined.

Gold coins found off the coast of Caesarea by divers (photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trésor des mers
Publié le 17 Février 201

atlantico.fr/atlantico-light/israel-plongeurs-decouvrent-tresor-2-000-pieces-or-vieilles-millenaire-dans-port-antique-cesaree-2009720.html#wvTHSX2SjguAwqA6.99

Israël : des plongeurs découvrent un trésor de 2 000 pièces d'or vieilles d'un millénaire dans le port antique de Césarée

Cette incroyable découverte a été faite complètement par hasard. Il s'agit du plus important trésor numismatique jamais mis au jour en Israël.

Read more at http://www.atlantico.fr/atlantico-light/israel-plongeurs-decouvrent-tresor-2-000-pieces-or-vieilles-millenaire-dans-port-antique-cesaree-2009720.html#wvTHSX2SjguAwqA6.99
Comme beaucoup de découvertes extraordinaires, celle-ci a eu lieu par hasard. Alors qu'ils exploraient les fonds marins du port antique de Césarée, au nord-ouest d'Israël, des membres d'un club de plongée ont découvert 2 000 pièces d'or vieilles de 1 000 ans, soit le plus important trésor numismatique jamais mis au jour dans le pays. "Ils ont d'abord cru avoir repéré une pièce de jeu" et ne se sont détrompés qu'en ramassant plusieurs pièces, ils ont alors alerté le directeur du club qui, à son tour, à informer l'autorité des antiquités, rapporte cette dernière ce mardi 17 février.

Les pièces sont des dinars, des semi-dinar et des quart de dinar.

Si la plus ancienne d'entre elles a été frappée à Palerme, en Sicile, dans la seconde moitié du IXe siècle, la plupart datent de deux califes fatimides qui ont régné de la fin du Xe siècle au début du XIe sur un territoire recouvrant une grande partie de l'Afrique du Nord, la Sicile et une partie du Proche-Orient. En excellent état en dépit du millier d'années passées dans les fonds marins, les pièces d'or n'ont même pas dû être nettoyées. Certaines présentant des traces de morsures, l'Unité d'archéologie marine imagine que leurs propriétaires passés ont voulu en éprouver leur qualité avec leurs dents.

"La découverte d'un si grand trésor de pièces de monnaie ayant eu un tel pouvoir économique dans l'antiquité soulève des interrogations concernant sa présence dans nos fonds marins. Une des possibilités : un bateau officiel de la trésorerie qui était sur son chemin vers le gouvernement central en Egypte avec les taxes collectées a fait naufrage. Ce trésor de monnaies était certainement destiné à payer les salaires de la garnison militaire fatimide qui était en poste à Césarée et protégeait la ville. Une autre théorie est que le trésor appartenait à un grand navire marchand qui commerçait avec les villes côtières et les ports de Méditerranée. Dans l'Unité d'archéologie maritime nous espérons que les fouilles plus méticuleuses qui seront menées permettront de nous en dire plus sur le contexte archéologique", a expliqué Kobi Sharvit, directeur de l'Unité.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpost.com/Israel-News/Antiquities-Authority-honors-six-divers-who-recovered-treasure-off-Caesarea-coast-400512

1st Mai 2015

05.01.2015 | 12 Iyar, 5775

Jerusalem Post


Antiquities Authority honors six divers who recovered treasure off Caesarea coast

2,600 perfectly preserved gold coins from 1017 CE mention founder of Druse faith.

The Israel Antiquities Authority hosted a ceremony at the Nabi Shu’ayb shrine in the Galilee on Monday honoring the six Israeli divers who last February in Caesarea found and turned in the largest cache of gold coins ever discovered in Israel.

The long-lost treasure was found on the seabed in the ancient harbor of Caesarea – today a national underwater archeological park – by a group of six divers: Tzvika Feuer, Kobi Tweena, Avivit Fishler, Shai Milner, Yoav Lavi, and Yoel Miller.

After finding numerous coins in the seabed they alerted the Antiquities Authority, which subsequently excavated the site they mapped out and uncovered 2,600 perfectly preserved coins from the Fatimid period, making international headlines.

According to Feuer, finding the glistening treasure was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime moment for the unsuspecting divers.

“The dive, which began like dozens of our previous dives in the area, quickly turned into an adventure from the creator of Indiana Jones,” he said. “Nothing can describe the exhilaration of discovering hundreds of gold coins, which despite the poor lighting conditions gleamed as golden as the day they were minted.”

Despite being overwhelmed by the discovery, Feuer said there was never any doubt that the group of divers would report the finding.

“From the outset it was clear we discovered a large, rare archeological treasure, and we were obliged to report it and turn it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority,” he said.

“We were later happy to find out that the origin of some of the coins was the Fatimid caliphate from the time associated with the establishment of the Druse religion.”

Indeed, Antiquities Authority spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz said that, for the Druse community, the discovery of the treasure was particularly dramatic, because most of the coins found bear the name of the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi Amr Allah, believed to be the founder the monotheistic Druse religion in 1017 CE.

“There is an aura of sanctity, dignity, and mystery surrounding al-Hakim,” said Schwartz.

“Among other things, there is a question about his mysterious disappearance a thousand years ago.”

While Schwartz noted that coins engraved with al-Hakim’s name have been found in the past, she said the concentration of gold coins in the treasure with his name “bears witness to the power of the caliph’s reign.”

“Many of the coins in the treasure were minted at a time when the Druse faith – Madhhab al-Tawid, a unique sect advocating absolute monotheism – was being spread in Cairo,” she explained.

The Druse faith, Schwartz continued, has deep roots in Eastern mysticism and was formulated from the wisdom of the monotheistic religions and different philosophical currents, from the time of ancient Greece until Islam.

During the ceremony – also attended by the spiritual head of the Druse community, Sheikh Muafek Tarif, the Antiquities Authority’s director Israel Hasson, and Caesarea Development Corporation head Michael Karasenti – the divers were awarded certificates of appreciation for their exemplary citizenship.

“The news of the discovery of gold coins from the Fatimid era caused great excitement among the Druse community,” said Tarif. “From the standpoint of the community, this discovery is of great historic and religious significance, which cannot be described in words.”

Meanwhile, Hasson praised the divers’ integrity and contribution to Israel’s ongoing archeological research.

“The history in this region proves that we are all intertwined,” he said. “I am glad the discovery, which is so important to the Druse community, is a result of exemplary citizenship; and as if an act of God, it reinforces the interdependency of the Druse community and the Jewish people in Israel.”

The six also received an enlarged replica of the one of the coins from the treasure, a gold dinar bearing the name of caliph al-Hakim.

“We are honored to take part in the ceremony and be a part of the chain that connects the Druse to their past,” said Feuer.
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