“It is an unusual find. We don’t have much gold from the time of the Crusades,” said Oren Tal, a professor at the University of Tel Aviv who led the investigation.
The treasure was found in the ruins of a castle in Arsuf, a strategic bastion during the Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries.
The 108 coins – one of the largest collections ever discovered in Israel – were found in a ceramic juglet buried underneath a tile floor in the ruins located some 15 kilometers from Tel Aviv.
Arsuf, which overlooks the Mediterranean, was the site of the famous victory of Richard the Lionheart against Saladin in the 12th century.
Eighty years later in 1265, the Muslim army returned with a different general and besieged the city for forty days. When the walls protecting the city fell, the Crusaders took refuge in the castle, which was eventually destroyed.
According to Tal, the coins belonged to the Christian order of the Knights Hospitaller, who had taken up residence at the castle. Historians and archeologists plan to study them this fall.
Israeli archeologists have found more than one hundred gold coins from the time of the Crusades, when conflict arose between Muslims and Christians over control of the Holy Land.
Holy Land, Crusades