Teenagers uncover rare haul of 1,100-year-old gold coins stashed in mystery clay pot

Margie Jones

The group of archaeological volunteers unearthed the hidden treasure as they dug in an area earmarked for new homes. The collection of 425 gold coins were found in Israel

Teenagers volunteering at an archeological dig have unearthed hundreds of ancient gold coins (Image: REUTERS)

Teenagers volunteering at an archeological dig have unearthed hundreds of ancient gold coins which lay buried for 1,100 years.

The haul of 425 24-carat pure gold coins were found stashed away in a clay jar.

Most of the money dates back to the early Islamic period, where the region was part of the Abbasid caliphate.

The circular gold coins weigh 845g (30oz) and would have been worth a huge sum when they were buried more than 1,000 years ago.

The cash would have been enough to by a luxurious home in the area, the BBC reports.

Why it was buried so far beneath the earth in a clay pot will remain a mystery.

Why the buried treasure was hidden away is a mystery (Image: REUTERS)

The treasures was discovered by the youngsters at an excavation site in central Israel where a new neighbourhood is planned.

Excavation director Liat Nadav-Ziv said: “The person who buried this treasure 1,100 years ago must have expected to retrieve it and even secured the vessel with a nail so that it would not move.

“We can only guess what prevented him from returning to collect this treasure.

The coins would have been worth a fortune over a thousand years ago (Image: REUTERS)

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“Finding gold coins, certainly in such a considerable quantity, is extremely rare.

“We almost never find them in archaeological excavations, given that gold has always been extremely valuable, melted down and reused from generation to generation.”

The area the haul was found in would have housed workshops at the time the treasure was hidden, experts say.

Oz Cohen, one of the volunteers who found the treasure said: “It was amazing.

The coins date back 1,100 years and are extremely valuable (Image: REUTERS)

“I dug in the ground and when I excavated the soil, saw what looked like very thin leaves.

“When I looked again I saw these were gold coins. It was really exciting to find such a special and ancient treasure.”

Dating back to the ninth century Abbasid Caliphate period, the 425 24-carat pure gold coins would have been a significant amount of money at the time, said Robert Kool, a coin expert at the Antiquities Authority.

“For example, with such a sum, a person could buy a luxurious house in one of the best neighbourhoods in Fustat, the enormous wealthy capital of Egypt in those days,” Kool said.

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