Fourth-grader unearths 9th century gold coin during educational dig
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Fourth-grader unearths 9th century gold coin during educational dig

‘I saw something sparkling, so I just picked it up,’ says 10-year-old Shira Sofer, one of hundreds of children taking part in regional archaeology program in central Israel

Fourth-grade student Shira Sofer pictured with the ninth-century gold coin she found and archaeologist Achia Cohen-Tavor, May 30, 2019. (Nicole Gutman, Karev Program for Educational Involvement)
Fourth-grade student Shira Sofer pictured with the ninth-century gold coin she found and archaeologist Achia Cohen-Tavor, May 30, 2019. (Nicole Gutman, Karev Program for Educational Involvement)

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.”

A ninth-century gold coin found at an excavation site in central Israel by fourth-grade student Shira Sofer on May 30, 2019. (Nicole Gutman, Karev Program for Educational Involvement)

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.

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