A hoard of seven ancient gold coins was found hidden inside a small clay juglet during a dig in the area of Yavne, in the central region of the country, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday.
The coins date back to the Earlier Islamic period of the seventh-ninth centuries CE. They were found last week at the entrance to a kiln at the site.
“This may be a potter’s personal savings,” the IAA said in a statement. The jug, which was partially broken, “may have been a piggy bank,” it said.
Archaeologists uncovered an ancient industrial area at the site that appears to have operated for several hundred years and included an unusually large number of pottery kilns.
The kilns produced store jars, cooking pots and bowls, according to the IAA.
Archaeologist Liat Nadav-Ziv, co-director of the excavation along with Elie Haddad, said there was great excitement at the dig when the gold coins were found.
She noted the find came during Hanukkah, an eight-day festival ending Monday during which there is a custom to gift chocolate gold coins.
“This is without a doubt a unique and exciting find especially during the Hannukah holiday,” she said.
Excavations of the site also uncovered a large wine-producing installation dating from the Persian period of the 4th-5th centuries BCE.
“The size and number of vats found at the site indicated that wine was produced on a commercial scale, well beyond the local needs of Yavne’s ancient inhabitants,” Haddad said.
The Israel Land Authority is funding the dig at the site ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood there.