The Israel Numismatic Society
Gold from the Sea – Newfound Treasure from Caesarea
On display at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem until December 1st, 2015
In February 2015, divers off the coast of Caesarea spotted by chance a group of gold coins lying on the seabed. They immediately alerted marine archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who conducted a salvage excavation at the site and recovered more than 2,6000 coins of pure (24 karat) gold weighing a total of 7.5 kg.
The coins date from the mid-9th to the early 11th century CE. They were minted by the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt, who ruled over a vast empire stretching from North Africa in the west to Syria and Yemen in the east. The wealth of the Fatimid caliphs and the opulence of their court were legendary, making Cairo one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the Islamic world. At the zenith of its power, the Fatimid Empire stood at the center of global trading network that reached as far east as China and India, and as far west as the Iberian caliphate of Cordoba and the Byzantine Empire.
The treasure contains two types of coins: gold dinars weighing around 4 g each and gold quarter-dinars weighing 1 g. These were the most common coins of the period, as silver coins were rare and bronze coins were not used at all. The treasure might have been tax-money collected by a government official returning to Cairo, the capital of the Caliphate, when his ship was wrecked. Alternately, it could have been payment, perhaps meant for soldiers stationed in the Fatimid garrison of Caesarea, that was sent out from the capital but which never reached its destination.
Eleventh-century documents from the Cairo Genizah indicate that the salary of a craftsman at that time was approximately two gold dinars per month. Based on the number of coins found so far, the treasure would have been the equivalent of 1,200 months' salary – a century of wages – or five and a half million shekels based on the minimum wage in Israel today.
The Caesarea gold treasure is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority, in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary, and is displayed at the entrance to the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing
June 4, 2015. The Spaer Fund for Numismatic Research is renewing its activities.
Publications of the Israel Numismatic Society
Numismatic Studies and Researches Volume XI
Small Change in Hellenistic-Roman Galilee
THE EVIDENCE FROM NUMISMATIC SITE FINDS AS A TOOL FOR HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION
Just appeared (Jan. 2015)
Israel Numismatic Research 9 (2014)
Notice: The Israel Numismatic Journal (INJ) is in no way affiliated with the Israel Numismatic Society. Beginning with issue 18 (2015) the Israel Numismatic Journal is published privately and is not associated with any numismatic organization
Dear friends and colleagues,
We are happy to announce the publication of the book:
Gold Coin and Small Change: Monetary Circulation in Fifth-Seventh Century Byzantine Palestine
by Gabriela Bijovsky
published by EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste (in association with the Israel Numismatic Society),
Trieste , 2012. - p. 553 ; 24 cm ; ill., softback (ISBN 9788883034770).
This book presents scholars a comprehensive analysis of the local coinage that circulated in Palestine
from the death of Arcadius until the time of the Arab conquest in the 640s.
The book can be purchased directly via: http://eut.units.it/dettaglio?query=JID=483
(press "Acquista" in order to fill the order form).
Coins of the Holy Land: The Abraham and Marian Sofaer Collection at the American Numismatic Society and the Israel Museum. (Ancient Coins in North American Collections 8, 2013)
by Ya’akov Meshorer with Gabriela Bijovsky and Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert, and edited by David Hendin and Andrew Meadows
Ancient Art of the Holy Land
History and aims of the Society
The Israel Numismatic Society (INS) was founded in Tel Aviv on May 10, 1945. Its first president was David Nudelman. In 1956 the INS approved a charter, which laid out the objectives and functioning of the society until recently. Since then three branches, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, grew up and have conducted regular monthly meetings. A journal on behalf of the INS, the Israel Numismatic Journal, was published, beginning in 1962. With the presidency of Prof. Dan Barag, the journal was reactivated (with Prof. Dan Barag as editor); ten volumes have appeared since 1980. Paralleling the growth of the state, the Israel Numismatic Society has greatly developed from its modest beginnings in 1945 as “The Numismatic Section of the Tel Aviv Circle of Amateurs of Antiquities.” Through the efforts and expertise of several people, from collectors to professors, the Society has advanced mode numismatic research in the small country. Several of its exceptional publications (ten volumes of Special Publications and five volumes of Corpus Nummorum Palestinensium) and journals continue to broaden our understanding of financial and political events throughout Israel’s ancient and mode history. In March 17, 2006 an updated charter was unanimously approved by a general meeting of representatives from all of the branches. This updated charter will ensure that the INS will continue to function efficiently in the coming years. At this time a new journal, the Israel Numismatic Research (INR) was founded. The Society's Special Publications have been reactivated in 2015, with the appearance of Vol. XI.
For the full history of the INS click here
The main objectives of the INS are:
- the advancement and of the study of numismatics in Israel
- the encouragement of numismatic training and research on all levels among Israeli institutions and private individuals
- the administration of and coordination between the INS branches, in which lectures and other activities take place
- the holding of scientific conferences and symposia on numismatic subjects
- the cooperation with sister organizations abroad in general, and with the Commission Inteationale de Numismatique (CIN) in particular
- the collaboration with other Israeli academic organizations in tangential fields
- the publication on a regular basis of a scientific joual and related studies on its behalf.
The three INS branches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa conduct monthly meetings, which include lectures by professionals and collectors and seminars presented by the members. In addition, the members use the monthly meetings to exchange information and discuss coins on an informal basis.
The society will hold a plenary session once a year, preceded by a country-wide symposium.