Archaeologists in Israel have announced the discovery of 44 pure gold coins from the 7th century, hidden in a wall in a nature preserve. According to experts’ estimates, the 170 g burial found in an area on the Banias River was hidden during the Muslim conquest of the region in 635.

Archaeologists say the coins shed light on the end of Byzantine rule in the region.

The Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) ruled for nearly 1,000 years, following the fall of the Roman Empire, until it was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Excavation manager Yoav Lerer said, “We understand that the owner of the coins hid his wealth during the threat of war in the hope that ‘I will return someday to get my property back’. Now in retrospect, we see that he was not so lucky.”

Israeli officials said that in the excavations carried out in the settlement area of ​​the ancient city, in addition to gold coins, building remains, water channels, pipes and bronze coins were also unearthed. Numismatics (currency) expert at the Israel Antiquities Authority, Dr. Gabriela Bijovsky said that some of the coins belonged to Emperor Phocas (602-610), but most to his successor, Heraclius. The Banias region, where the coins are found, has a special place in Christian culture. It is believed that here Jesus said to his apostle Peter, “On this rock I will build my church.”

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