Archaeologists excavating an area at the Jerusalem National Park in Israel uncovered 264 gold coins from the Byzantine period, early in the seventh century.

The Israel Antiquities Authority reported that the coins were found under a large rock in an area where a car park was being excavated. In Israel, it is required that construction sites must undergo an archaeological investigation to ensure antiquities are recovered. This was one such dig.

All of the coins bear the likeness of the emperor Heraclius who was emperor of the Byzantine empire 610-641. Archaeologist believe the coins were minted and hidden at the site prior to the Persian capture of Jerusalem in 614. Heraclius is depicted on the obverse wearing his military uniform and holding a cross in his right hand. A cross is shown on the reverse. The coins were found in near mint condition.

Daily Mail (UK) credits the discovery to Nadine Ross, a British volunteer working in the fourth and last week of the excavation.

Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, directors of the excavation, said that the coins had likely been hidden in a niche in one of the building’s walls because the of the lack of other items found in the area. Archaeologists hope that more can be found as they continue to explore.

First image courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Second image courtesy of the Daily Mail

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