One of Israel’s richest archaeological sites—abounding with sculpture, mosaics, pottery, glassware, coins and more—Caesarea Maritima still holds surprises after 21 years of excavation, as two discoveries last season show. In a curious reprise of the recent silver-cache finds at Tel Miqne-Ekron,a volunteers from Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota), working at Caesarea under Dr. Olin Storvick, uncovered a hoard of 99 solidi (above), gold coins of the later Roman empire. Found beneath a fragmented mosaic pavement in a room that was probably part of a private dwelling, the coins date to between 344 and 395 A.D. The coins’ owner had secreted them inside a makeshift “safe,” part of a basalt mill stone (shown in photo) that already lay beneath the floor level. A wooden beam by which a donkey turned the mill originally fit into the square opening in the mill stone. The owner had stacked the coins neatly inside this opening and had sealed the opening with white plaster, no doubt never imagining that the coins would remain safe for 1,600 years.

Another kind of treasure, a 13-by-13-foot mosaic (above), also came to light at Caesarea last year, at the hands of volunteers under the supervision of Audrey Shaffer of Corona, California. The preserved mosaic consists of a grape vine, growing from vases in the corners, that encircles animals, birds and several human figures, creating the effect of a pattern of medallions. One of the human figures is a dancing man (below), dubbed the “Caesarea dancer.” Dated to the sixth century A.D., the mosaic paves a rectangular room in a large seaside building. Once thought to contain a row of shops, the building, as a result of this discovery, is now interpreted as more likely part of a luxurious private residence.