A cache of coins dating back to the Byzantine period, featuring Byzantine emperors, was discovered in an archaeological dig ahead of roadwork on the highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The coins date from the 7th century AD and they bear the images of the Byzantine emperors Justinian (483-565 AD), Maurice (539-602 AD) and Phocas (547-610 AD). They were struck at three different mints, Constantinople, Antioch, and Nicomedia. The cache was found amongst large stones that had collapsed alongside the building. According to archaeologists it is possible that during a time of danger the owner of the hoard placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall. He probably hoped to go back and collect it.
The archaeologists believe that the coins were concealed by Christians as the Persians invaded in 614 AD, marking the end of Byzantine rule in the land. The site was abandoned and, over time, disappeared, becoming just another bump in the agricultural terraces characteristic of the region. The building and the wine press are part of a larger site that is bisected by Highway 1, including the remains of a Byzantine church.
(after Yoli Schwartz, Haaretz & Christian Today)