Alexander the Great was dead and his heirs were wrangling for control of his now-fractured empire. In the tumult that ensued, an affluent family living in what’s now northern Israel sought to save their fortune and hid a purse of valuables in a remote stalactite cave.
The trove, comprising rare types of silver jewelry, a couple of coins, and black-and-white agate beads hidden in a lamp, lay undisturbed in the limestone cave for over 2,300 years until a group of Israeli spelunkers happened upon them last month.
The rare find sheds light on the lives of ordinary people during the late 4th century BCE, experts said Sunday. That stalactites formed over some of the pottery will help geologists better understand the rate of their growth.
Scuba divers have uncovered the largest treasure trove ever discovered off Israel’s Mediterranean coast – but won’t get a penny.
The group initially thought they had found a toy coin on the ocean floor before tests confirmed the gold pieces were treasure.
Experts who eventually counted 2,000 pieces, dating back more than 1,000 years, described the discovery as ‘priceless.’ The coins are now property of the state with no finder’s fee for the divers.
Members of a diving club in the Roman-era port stumbled across the treasure, weighing nearly 20 pounds, by pure chance while on a dive.
‘The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbour in Caesarea,’ said a statement by Israeli Antiquities Authority.
No finder’s fee – poor sods.