Thursday, August 12, 2010

2200-Year-Old Coin Uncovered In Israel

The Tel Kedesh archaeological dig in Israel, near the Lebanon border, is one of the most important digs undertaken in the Middle East, thanks in no small part to the area’s rich history and frequent conquests by various invading tribes.

Researchers there have uncovered the largest and most valuable gold coin ever uncovered in Israel, and one of the rarest gold coins in the world. It’s a 2,200-year-old Egyptian gold coin that weighs a full ounce, six times heavier than all the other coins of that era and only the second Egyptian dynastic coin uncovered in the land.

According to Donald Ariel, head of the antiquities authority coin department, the coin dates back to the days when Israel was ruled by the Iraqi Seleucid Empire, though the coin was minted by Egyptian rivals in the Ptolomy dynasty.

The coin itself is from the reign of Ptolomy V, and is believed to depict Cleopatra I on the back. That’s one seriously old, seriously heavy coin.

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