In an ancient wall near Banias—a Roman-era city located by a natural spring at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights—Israeli archaeologists have discovered 44 gold coins, apparently hidden there by their former owner in the 7th century CE. The Jewish News Service reports:
Several of the coins were dated to the reigns of Emperor Phocas (602–610) and Emperor Heraclius (610-641), the latter of which overlapped with the Muslim conquest of Byzantine Palestine in 635.
“The coin hoard, weighing about 170 grams, . . . reflects a specific moment in time, when we can imagine the owner concealing his fortune in the threat of war, hoping to return one day to retrieve his property. In retrospect, we know that he was less fortunate,” said Yoav Lerer, who directed the excavation.
Eli Escusido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said of the discovery: “The coin hoard is an extremely significant archaeological find as it dates to an important transitional period in the history of the city of Banias and the entire region of the Levant.”