The West

An ancient trove of gold jewellery and coins believed to date back to the seventh century has been discovered in Israel.

Included in the rare collection discovered by Israeli archaeologist Dr Eilat Mazar were thirty-six gold coins etched with images of Byzantine emperors, a 10cm medallion inscribed with Jewish ritual objects and a 3,000-year-old earthenware jug inscribed with what is believed to be the first form of written text.

One of the Byzantine coins discovered. Photo: Hanan Isachar

The haul is believed to be one of the largest to date in the region.

"I have never found so much gold in my life! I was frozen. It was unexpected," Mazar told The Times of Israel.

Dr Eilat Mazaar with some of the coins she unearthed. Photo: Getty Images

Other findings include items with additional Jewish symbols such as a ram's horn and a Torah scroll.

Mazar said Monday the objects can be dated to the seventh century.

She said the treasure was discovered in a ruined Byzantine public structure a mere 50 meters from the southern wall of the hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount — where the two biblical Jewish Temples once stood.

The site is also considered holy by Muslims who call it the Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary.


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