During a dig in Yavne, Israel, archaeologists uncovered a small clay juglet that contained seven ancient gold coins. The dig is being funded by the Israel Land Authority prior to a neighborhood that’s going to be built at the site. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced a couple a days ago that the coins date back to the Early Islamic period around the seventh to ninth centuries.
In a statement, the IAA said, “This may be a potter’s personal savings,” adding that the juglet “may have been a piggy bank”. The fact that the discovery was made during the Hanukkah holidays made it even more exciting as there is a tradition of giving chocolate gold coins as gifts.
The jug and coins were found last week at the entrance to a kiln located at the dig site. In fact, several pottery kilns from the end of the Byzantine period and beginning of the Early Islamic period (seventh to ninth centuries) were discovered at the ancient industrial area that more than likely operated for several hundreds of years. The kilns were used to produce cooking pots, jars, and bowls.
“I was in the middle of cataloging a large number of artifacts we found during the excavations, when all of a sudden I heard shouts of joy,” said archaeologist Liat Nadav-Ziv who co-directed the excavation, adding, “I ran towards the shouting and saw Marc Molkondov, a veteran archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, approaching me excitedly. We quickly followed him to the field where we were surprised to see the treasure. This is without a doubt a unique and exciting find, especially during the Hanukkah holiday.”
According to the IAA’s Robert Kool, the coins were “rarely found in Israel” and included a gold dinar from the time of Caliph Haroun al-Rashid’s reign (786-809 C.E.). “These are gold dinars issued by the Aghlabid dynasty that ruled in North Africa, in the region of modern Tunisia, on behalf of the Abbasid Caliphate centered in Bagdad,” Kool explained.
Additionally, a large wine-producing facility dating back between the fourth and fifth centuries was also uncovered at the site. “The size and number of vats found at the site indicated that wine was produced on a commercial scale, well beyond the local needs of Yavne’s ancient inhabitants,” explained Elie Haddad who was co-director of the excavation. Pictures can be seen here.