Archaeologists in Israel said they have unearthed more than 250 gold coins dating back to the seventh century A.D., making it the largest cache of gold coins from that period ever found in Jerusalem.

A British archaeologist found the treasure trove on Sunday while excavating the ruins of a building. The dig site is now a parking lot on the edge of Jerusalem's walled Old City.

The gold coins date back to the Byzantine period and bear the image of the Emperor Heraclius, who ruled between 610 and 641 A.D. The nearly 1,400 year-old coins depict him in military dress, holding a cross in his right hand.

Officials at the Israeli Antiquities Authority Monday said the coins had likely been hidden in one of the building's walls. They said archaeologists have never discovered more than five Byzantine-period coins at a time in Jerusalem before.


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.