In July of this year, archaeologists in Israel uncovered a hidden cache of gold left behind by the Crusaders in a location that was formerly a fortress. While the find itself was fascinating for the level of wealth it contained and its historical merit, researchers are now coming forward to say that they have gained new insight into these coins tied with how they were used for economic transactions. The story of the trove of gold coins expands and, according to a recent by reporter Gwen Ackerman of Bloomberg News, most of the relics uncovered are dinars which are from an era known as the Fatimid Period that came well before the Crusaders took control of Apollonia castle which also goes by the name of Arsur.
Located between the ports of Caesarea and Jaffa, Apollonia was an important trading center from 1241 AD until it was destroyed in 1265 AD. Large amounts of gold would have flowed through the castle which traded in agricultural products as well as industrial goods. The gold coins excavated would likely have been hidden during a 40 day siege led by Sultan Baybars from Egypt who eventually overran it. These particular coins, archaeologists revealed, also came from Egypt. They were produced some time between 900 AD and 1000 AD, long before the Crusaders would have held them in Apollonia.
Israeli archaeologists recently unearthed a ceramic jar containing a trove of gold coins that is believed to have been buried a millennium ago. The Crusaders who fought against Muslim warriors in this part of what is known as the Holy Land are well known to have valued gold as highly as their opposition. This jug was buried in the ruins of a Crusader castle the Christian warriors are known to have defended for quite some time. In all, 108 eight coins were discovered with a total weight of 14 ounces which, by today's gold prices, makes them worth over $22,000 in all. However, their value clearly extends beyond the worth of their gold content.
The fortress the gold coins were discovered in is located in Arsuf which lies about 9 miles from modern day Tel Aviv in what is today part of Apollonia National Park. The site is located atop a cliff along present day Israel's coast and was hotly contested territory during the 12th and 13th centuries when the gold was believed to have been hidden beneath a tile floor there. Objects made from precious metals formerly held by the Crusaders are not commonly found in Israel, according to the lead archaeologist.
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