Fatimid Treasure Discovered at Crusader-Era Apollonia-Arsuf

Bible and archaeology news

An extraordinary stash of Fatimid Coins was buried by crusaders in the 13th century. Apollonia National Park Expedition / Pavel Shrago

Archaeologists seek out the treasures of the past, but rarely do they come across literal pots of gold. Tel Aviv University and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority excavations at Arsuf uncovered a spectacular cache of over 100 gold dinals deliberately buried by the Knights Hospitaller in the 13th century C.E. A fortune in the thirteenth century, the Fatimid coins are worth up to $500,000 today.

Called Apollonia in Greco-Roman times, the seventh century C.E. Muslim conquest restored the site’s original Semitic name, Arsuf. The crusaders occupied the site they called Arsur at the start of the 12th century C.E., and were driven out by the Mamluk army in 1265. The coins were discovered in a pot in a Roman fortress, buried by the Crusaders and filled with sand to disguise the contents from the invading Mamluks. The coins predate the Crusader occupation by several centuries, and were originally minted by the Fatimid Empire in northern Africa.

 


 
What Were the Crusades and How Did They Impact Jerusalem? Read the full article “When Crusader Kings Ruled Jerusalem” by Jack Meinhardt online in Bible History Daily as it originally appeared in Archaeology Odyssey.
 

 

The Crusaders built extensively at Arsur, and the subsequent abandonment of the site after the Mamluk invasion leaves a relatively clear picture of the Crusader city and its destruction. The coins would haev already been viewed as foreign, antiquated treasure by the 13th century, and, along with the large-scale architectural projects undertaken at Arsur, attest to the wealth and power of the Crusader occupation.

Read more in the Daily Mail.

The coins were deliberately buried to hide them from the Mamluk invaders. Apollonia National Park Expedition / Pavel Shrago


 

 
Interested in ancient hoards? Textual records and lead isotope analysis on Iron Age silver hoards suggest that the island of Sardinia may be Biblical Tarshish, the source of Solomon’s silver.

Posted in Post-Biblical Period.

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5 Responses

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  1. Stephen says

    Wonderful, exciting hoard for everyone to see eventually in a museum

  2. Kyle says

    Fantastic find! Maybe treasures like this were what really drew Crusaders to the Middle East? Here’s a bit more info on this discovery: http://sellmygold.com/crusades-era-gold-coins-uncovered-in-israel/

  3. Danmuazu says

    Why are u calling the mamluks invaders where as it was the christian crusaders that invaded their empire? How can the mamluks who are middle eastern invade their own middle east against alien europeans? The mamluks were liberators and the chtistian crusaders were the aggressive thieves from europe. Try being objective for once please and stop avoiding the unfortunate truth that christians from europe invaded muslim land and killed millions and robbed the land. Chasing the aggressive christians could not translate into invading where the occupied by force.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Enormous Crusader-Era Hospital Discovered in Jerusalem « linked to this post on August 6, 2013

    [...] Read the Bible History Daily feature What Were the Crusades and How Did They Impact Jerusalem? and the BHD excavation news Fatimid Treasure Discovered at Crusader-Era Apollonia-Arsuf. [...]

  2. Byzantine Jewelry and Other Precious Finds Uncovered in Ancient Dump « linked to this post on August 8, 2013

    [...] The pits were uncovered along with agricultural installations, including olive and wine presses, at a farming community located near Apollonia-Arsuf, a site that was continuously occupied from the Persian era in the 6th century B.C.E. through the Crusader era in the 13th century C.E. The extensively excavated site yielded equally lavish finds in a recent excavation—100 gold dinals… [...]


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