Crusades Gold Found at Ancient Castle Ruins

Archeologists in Israel unearthed a cache of gold coins in the same place where a famous battle between Christians and Muslims took place during the crusades nearly 1,000 years ago.

The team was comprised of members from Tel Aviv University and Israel's Nature and Parks Authority who were excavating a site at Apollonia National Park, an ancient Roman settlement on the Mediterranean coast.

"All in all, we found some 108 dinars and quarter dinars, which makes it one of the largest gold coin hoards discovered in a medieval site in the land of Israel," Oren Tal, chairman of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology, told

The gold was found in the ruins of a castle in Arsuf, which was important to crusaders during the fight for the Holy Land between 1241 and 1265.

The coins were found in a ceramic jug beneath a tile floor of the ruins some 10 miles from Tel Aviv.

"It was in a small juglet, and it was partly broken. The idea was to put something broken in the ground and fill it with sand, in order to hide the gold coins within," Tal told

"If by chance somebody were to find the juglet, he won't excavate it, he won't look inside it to find the gold coins … once we started to sift it, the gold came out," he added.

Tal explained that the gold probably belonged to the Knights Hospitaller who used the castle. He stated that it could have been payment or even profits from other activities.

Some have pegged the value of the coins a $500,000, but their value in terms of the contribution to the study of early commerce cannot be measured.

"The study of these coins will contribute to our understanding of how large-scale economic interactions were made at the time," Tal said.