Israeli teenagers volunteering at an archaeological dig uncovered a rare find—a hoard of hundreds of gold coins.
The coins are made of 24-karat pure gold and most date back 1,100 years to the Abbasid Islamic caliphate that stretched from Persia to North Africa and had its seat of government in Baghdad.
Two youths discovered the treasure in an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavation during the construction of a neighborhood in the center of Israel.
"Today when they came to work, they started digging. They saw a glimmer in the ground and as they continued excavating, they found a gold hoard, a large gold hoard in a small jar," said IAA archaeologist Galit Tal.
The youths volunteered at the dig during their summer holiday before their army service as part of the IAA's program to help connect them to their past. Oz Cohen is one of the team.
"It was amazing. I dug in the ground and when I excavated the soil, saw what looked like very thin leaves. When I looked again, I saw these were gold coins. It was really exciting to find such a special and ancient treasure," Cohen said of the discovery.
Tal said finding gold is rare. The hoard contained 425 gold coins.
"We don't find many gold hoards in archaeological excavations. When we do find them, we don't find individual coins mostly. We usually find them in hoards because, gold being gold, people wanted to keep it close and so they kept it with them," Tal explained.
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