A ten-year-old girl experienced the thrill of being an archaeologist when she spotted something sparkling during an educational dig on Thursday and discovered a ninth century gold coin.
Shira Sofer, a fourth-grade student at the Bachar Rousseau school in Tzur Moshe, near Netanya in central Israel, is one of hundreds of children taking part in a Lev HaSharon Regional Council archaeology program.
They are working at a village from the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods (the Talmudic and Geonic period, 5th to 11th centuries CE), among excavations that have revealed dwellings along with the everyday objects owned by their ancient owners, such as pottery, glass, coins and weights.
“I saw something sparkling so I just picked it up,” said Sofer.
Archaeologist Achia Cohen-Tavor of Dagesh Archaeological Tourism, who is managing the excavation on behalf of Ariel University, said, “This is a coin minted by one of the caliphs of the Abbasid dynasty from Baghdad, who then ruled the Land of Israel, and they made one dinar, about 4 grams of gold, and it is probably dated to the end of the ninth century CE.”
She added, “When you find coins, they often ask me, ‘How much money is this worth?’ and I answer, ‘It’s not the money, it’s the knowledge and the history we learn from the coin.'”
Also as part of the educational activities at the site, junior high school children use a wine press excavated in the 1980s to show elementary school children how to make wine.