Cache of silver objects: two coins of Alexander of Macedon, rings, bracelets, earrings, and a small stone weight. (Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)
Cache of silver objects: two coins of Alexander of Macedon, rings, bracelets, earrings, and a small stone weight. (Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

A month after the discovery of gold coins by divers off the coast of Caesarea, another treasure find has the Israel Antiquities Authority bouncing with excitement. Three members of the Israeli Caving Club came upon a cache of rare coins and silver and bronze objects 2,300 years old, in a cave in northern Israel.

The cavers reported their find to inspectors of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Theft in the Israel Antiquities Authority. They then took the officials of the Israel Antiquities Authority to the cave and helped them inside.

“They understood the importance of the archaeological discovery and exhibited exemplary civic behavior by immediately bringing these impressive archaeological finds to the attention of the IAA. After the gold treasure from Caesarea, this is the second time in the past month that citizens have reported significant archeological finds and we welcome this important trend. Thanks to these citizens’ awareness, researchers at the Israel Antiquities Authority will be able to expand the existing archaeological knowledge about the development of society and culture in the Land of Israel in antiquity,” said Amir Ganor, director of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery in the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The three spelunkers — Reuven Zakai, his 21-year-old son Chen Zakai and their friend Lior Halony — lowered themselves down in the ground, into the stalactite cave, and wriggled through a narrow passage in front of the cave. They wandered and crawled between the different parts of the cave for several hours.

It was Chen, the youngest caver, who first caught sight of a shining object in one of the cave’s niches. The objects turned out to be two ancient silver coins minted during the reign of Alexander the Great, who conquered the Land of Israel at the beginning of the Hellenistic period (late fourth century BCE).

They also found several pieces of silver jewelry, among them rings, bracelets and earrings, which were apparently concealed in the cave, together inside a cloth pouch some 2,300 years ago.

The Israel Antiquities Authority reports that the combination of a stalactite cave and archaeological finds is both fascinating and rare.