by Christopher Freeburn | July 11, 2012 11:50 am
Nearly a millennium ago, someone hid a fortune in coins in a ceramic jug, buried beneath a tile floor in Crusades-era castle near present-day Arsuf, Israel.
Archaeologists excavating the castle, recently uncovered the treasure. The 108 gold coins, originally struck in Egypt, represent one of the largest currency discoveries made in Israel, Reuters notes.
Experts studying the coins believe they belonged to a sect of Christian Crusaders called the Knights Hospitaller, who took refuge in the castle during a battle. The castle where the coins were found is located close to a battlefield where British King and Crusader Richard the Lion-Hearted defeated the Muslim leader Saladin in the 12th century.
Despite the victory, Crusader defenses were steadily overrun until they were driven from the Holy Land by the end of the 13th century. The castle near Arsuf was besieged by Muslim armies in 1265 and ultimately sacked, possibly the very time the coins were hidden.
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