Israeli authorities foil ancient Roman coin smuggling attempt

Customs authorities foil attempt to smuggle 53 historical coins dating from Roman period.

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Ido Ben Porat,

Some of the smuggled coins
Some of the smuggled coins
Alleby Customs Authority

Customs authorities at the Allenby Crossing between Jordan and Israel foiled on Sunday an attempt to smuggle Roman and Mamluk period coins into Israel.

The smuggler, a resident of the Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarm, was crossing back into Israel from Jordan when he was tagged for a more thorough search by the Israeli Customs Authority.

After the customs officer asked the suspect to empty his pockets, he noticed something heavy inside the suspect's coat.

A search of the coat revealed a bag of 53 old coins, dating from 100 BCE to the thirteenth century CE.

Judea and Samaria Police arrested the suspect and turned him over to the Civil Authority's Archaeological Division.

"These findings represent 1,400 years of regional history, from the ancient Roman period to the Mamluk period during the 13th century BCE. I am happy to see continued cooperation between the relevant authorities, and am glad we have prevented someone from stealing a piece of everyone's history," said Civil Authority Archaeological Division Vice Chief Benny Har-Even.

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