July 2012: One of the largest gold treasures was discovered in Israel at an archaeological dig near Herzliya under the joint auspices of Tel Aviv University and the Nature and Parks Authority. Among the items found were 108 gold coins, including 93 that weighed four grams each and 15 that weighed 1 gram each. The gold was not new and clearly was part of someone’s family treasure or business investment. The coins were minted in Egypt approximately 250 years prior to their burial under the floor tiles of the 13th century CE fortress that has been under excavation for more than 30 years.
The coins were found hidden in a pottery vessel at the Appollonia National Park, where the former Crusader town of Apollonia-Arsuf once thrived. A large cache of arrowheads [hundreds] and other weaponry, including stones used in catapults, was also found. Archaeologists stated the find indicated a fierce battle had taken place at the time the Mameluks seized the area from the Crusaders.Appollonia National Park director Haggai Yoynana added that if one were to add the treasure to the findings of the weaponry, “it tells the story of a prolonged siege and a harsh battle.” According to the website of the Biblical Archaeological Society, the clash has been identified as the Battle of Arsuf, between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart.
TAU Professor Oren Tal stated that the manner in which the treasure was hidden indicated its owner’s intention of returning to reclaim it. The treasure weighing approximately 400 grams (nearly one pound), is estimated at a worth of more than $100,000 (US). The Crusader fortress had been uncovered at the site some time ago, along with remains of a port city dating back to the time of the Phoenicians. Archaeologists have also found the remains of a Roman villa, a well-preserved market street from the Early Islamic period and a massive gate complex.