Jerusalem: Rare coins and jewellery from the time of Alexander the Great have been found in a cave in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Monday.
The 2,300-year-old cache includes silver coins of Alexander the Great, who conquered the region in the late fourth century B.C.
In addition, several pieces of silver and bronze jewellery were found, including decorated earring, bracelets and rings, which were apparently concealed in the cave, inside a cloth pouch.
"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, a time when the Wars of the Diadochi broke out in Israel between Alexander's heirs," Xinhua quoted the Israel Antiquities Authority as saying in a statement.
"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 authority said.
Archaeologists with the authority believe this is one of the important discoveries to come to light in the north of the country in recent years.
The cache was discovered by chance two weeks ago, as three members of the Israeli Caving Club were touring the area, known as one of the largest and well-hidden stalactite caves in northern Israel. They wandered and crawled between various parts of a stalactite cave for several hours, as a shinning object caught their eyes.
They reported the find to the Israel Antiquities Authority, which sent researchers that have examined the cave over the past two weeks.
The discovery comes a month after a hoard of at least 2,000 ancient gold coins was accidentally discovered by divers off the coast of Caesarea, north of Tel Aviv, in the largest gold trove ever discovered in Israel.