Massive Collection Of Medieval Coins Discovered Near Lyon
French archeologists just announced they've uncovered a huge collection of coins from the Middle Ages from a famous monastery in the department of Saône-et-Loire. Researchers say this is the largest discovery of medieval gold and silver coins in the history of France.
This huge assortment of coins and jewels was found in the historic Abbey of Cluny. Founded in 910 AD, the Abbey of Cluny was one of the most important Benedictine monasteries in all of Europe between the 10th and 12th centuries.
In total, researchers found over 2,200 silver deniers, 21 gold dinars, gold foil, a strange gold circular object, and a few priceless pieces of jewelry. Historians say these coins will help them better understand the abbey's long and complex history.
Although these treasures were discovered in September, officials didn't release an official statement until this November. They told reporters that they wanted to be sure these coins were authentic before they informed the general public.
Most experts believe locals used silver from a nearby mint to make the silver deniers. During the height of the abbey's influence, most Europeans used silver coins in their daily transactions.
The gold coins, on the other hand, were probably produced in Spain or Morocco. All of the 21 gold coins have the fifth Almoravid king Ali ibn Yusuf's inscription on them. Yusuf ruled the Arab empire centered in Morocco between 1106 and 1143 AD, so archeologists tentatively date these coins between 1121 and 1131 AD.
Both the gold coins and jewelry were most likely stored in the abbey for safekeeping. All of these coins and jewels were hidden underneath a tanned hide.
The Abbey of Cluny lost its prestige after St. Peter's Basilica was completed in 1626 AD. Unfortunately, a great deal of the abbey was destroyed by the Huguenots in the 1500s and then again during the French Revolution.
Thousands of tourists from around the world visit the Abbey of Cluny every year. Cluny is conveniently located only one hour's drive away from the major city of Lyon.'
Today, archeologists from prestigious universities in Lyon are trying to figure out exactly when and where these coins were produced. It's not yet known where these coins will be stored after archeologists are finished studying them.
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