Israel Antiquities Authority is surely having a fine run in the last few weeks. Last month, they (initially aided by amateur divers) came across a stash of over a 2,000 gold coins dating from 11th century AD. And now, the archaeologists have discovered an enviable cache of jewelry and silver coins from an ancient epoch dating from the time of none other than Alexander the Great. Found by three members of Israeli Caving Club, the treasure was discovered when they expertly dived through a narrow length beyond the entrance of a stalactite cave. One of the divers named Hen Zakai then observed two glistening silver coins inside a nook along the cave wall.
These silver coins have depiction of Alexander the Great one of their sides, while the other side showcases Zeus in a pretty boisterous posture. And, it is interesting to note that Alexander often identified himself as the son of ‘Zeus-Ammon‘ – a god complex-oriented behavioral pattern initially inculcated by his mother Olympias. As for the rare find at hand, the spelunkers also found three rings, four bracelets, five earrings (with some being potentially crafted from silver), a weight made of stone, and a clay lamp with contents of agate stones. As for origins of this inconspicuously placed stash treasure, this is what the historians at Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) had to say –
The valuables might have been hidden in the cave by local residents who fled there during the period of governmental unrest stemming from the death of Alexander. Presumably the cache was hidden in the hope of better days, but today we know that whoever buried the treasure never returned to collect it.
The unrest they are talking about pertains to the conflicts of the successor states (the Diadochi) of the Macedonian Empire after the untimely death of Alexander. The archaeologists also found evidences of habitation activity inside the cave from at least 4000 BC to the Hellenistic period (starting from after early 4th century BC). To that end, the divers had additionally unearthed pottery vessels in the cave, and are also expecting to find more artifacts and jewelry works within the many crevasses hidden by the naturally formed limestone eco-system.
Image Credits: SHMUEL MAGAL/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY.