Over one hundred gold coins dating from the period of the Crusades have been unearthed in Israel. The 108 coins were found contained in a ceramic jug underneath a tile floor in the ruins of the ancient castle of Arsuf, which overlooks the Mediterranean near the city of Tel Aviv.
Arsuf castle was captured from the Muslims by an invading Crusader army in the early 12th century. The castle was then fought over for the next 160 years during the peak of the famous conflict between Christian and Muslim armies of the era.
The gold coins originate from the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, with some dating back to several hundred years before the start of the Crusades.
Professor Oren Tal of Tel Aviv University is leading the dig and believes the coins belonged to the Knights Hospitaller, a famous Christian military order of the period who were the last Crusaders occupying the site before it was recaptured by Muslim forces. “It is a rare find. We don’t have a lot of gold that had been circulated by the Crusaders,” commented Professor Tal.
Weighing fourteen ounces in total, this incredibly valuable treasure could well have been hidden by the Knights as the Muslims forced their way back into the castle in the year 1265. Whilst their full story may never be known, the coins were undoubtedly of enormous importance to their owners.