Tuesday 23 December 2008
Israeli archaeologists said they have unearthed more than 250 gold coins from the seventh century on the edge of Jerusalem’s walled Old City. A British tourist volunteering at the dig discovered the trove on Sunday.
Israel’s Antiquities Authority said the Byzantine-period hoard was found in the ruins of a building where a striking 2,000-year-old gold earring from the Roman era was dug up last month.
The site is located in a parking lot alongside the ancient city’s southern wall.
The coins bear the image of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, who ruled between 610 and 641 AD He is depicted wearing military dress and holding a cross in his right hand.
Heraclius’ reign was marked by several military campaigns, and he was remembered in future generations both for his battles against the Sassanid king Khosrow Parviz, and as the first of the Byzantine emperors to engage the Muslims.
A statement Monday said the coins had likely been hidden in a niche in one of the building’s walls.