A local diving club exploring off the coast of Israel recently discovered a treasure of nearly 2,000 gold coins, CNN reported.
At first, the divers believed they’d uncovered a toy coin from a game, but they quickly realized they were wrong. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the coins were found in the ancient Mediterranean harbor of Caesarea and are about 1,000 years old. It’s the largest stash of gold coins ever found in Israel.
"There is probably a shipwreck there of an official treasury boat which was on its way to the central government in Egypt with taxes that had been collected," said Kobi Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the antiquities authority.
The coins themselves mostly originate from the Fatimid Caliphate, a Muslim empire that spanned from North Africa to the Middle East. Sharvit said the coins, which come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, were uncovered by winter storms.
Marin archeologists plan to examine the site and see if they can learn more about the coins and how they wound up at the bottom of the ocean.
Shavit expressed his gratitude towards the divers, who quickly reported the discovery. "These divers are model citizens," he said. "They discovered the gold and have a heart of gold that loves the country and its history.”