Salah al-Din coins at Bethsaida

Some news about the two Islamic coins recovered from Area T at Bethsaida in 2012.

Yesterday I met with Ariel Berman in Kiryat Tivon. He had identified the two coins found in Area T during the 2012 season at Bethsaida (et-Tel).

The first of those (IAA 138739, Basket 31013) is a coin from Al-Nasir Yusuf Salah al-Din (aka, Saladin), and dates to 1189 CE – just 12-18 months after his decisive victory over the Crusader forces at the Horns of Hattin. The coin was minted in Damascus.

The other coin (IAA 138740, Basket 31016) is from just a few years later: 1193 CE. It is also a coin issued by Salah al-Din and minted at Damascus, but this time from the final year of his rule.

Although Ariel Berman had not yet received the coins from the 2013 season from IAA, I was able to show him high quality photographs of the coins on my iPad. He immediately identified several of the coins from Area T in 2013 as also being from this period and from the subsequent Mamluk period.

It seems that I now have a new research project to study the period of Salah al-Din in more detail, and then to consider the significance of Ayyubid and Mamluk occupation at et-Tel. We may well have an entirely new level of occupation for the site, from the late 12C through to the 16C, and Berman suggested to me that the site was a base for veterans of the victorious Muslim forces after the Crusaders were defeated in the Galilee.

It will be very good to have formal identifications of the coins from 2013 once Ariel Berman has had an opportunity to see them.

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