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Archaeology in Israel: Alexander the Great Era Cave Treasure

(March 2015)

Members of the Israel Caving Club discovered a large cache of ancient gold coins, jewelry, and other personal items in a cave in Northern Israel's Galilee region in early 2015.  The discovery was announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on March 9, 2015, and the exact location of the discovery is being kept a secret to preserve the integrity of the research area. 

Amateur spelunker Hen Zakai and friends were preparing for a more serious upcoming expedition by exploring the cave, when Zakai spotted a shiny object in a corner of a tight area.  Two coins bearing the face of Alexander the Great on one side and a bust of Zeus on the other lay hidden behind a rock.  The cavers alerted the IAA, who examined the items and recognized the find as “something very, very unique.” 

The markings on the coins indicated they were minted during the period of Alexander the Great, but the expedition also uncovered silver jewelry including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings in the cave, some dating to much earlier periods. 

The IAA announced that they believe they have found artifacts in the cave that date as far back as the Chalcolithic period c. 6,000 years ago; the Early Bronze Age c. 5,000 years ago, the Biblical period 3,000 years ago and the Hellenistic period approximately 2,300 years ago.  

Experts speculate that the items stashed in the cave were hidden during hard times and the owners intended to return to claim them.  The cave is deep and has many more small crevices, which archaeologists hope will yield additional artifacts. 


Sources: CNN, NBC, LiveScience

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