Alexander the Great Coins Found in Syria

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Hellenistic coins dating back to the era of Alexander the Great are seen after they were discovered in northern Syria, the head of the archaeological excavation department in the Aleppo province said Thursday, March 4, 2010. More than 250 Hellenistic coins were discovered by a Syrian man two weeks ago in the Manbej area as he was digging a plot of land he owns to build a house on it, said Youssef Kanjo, head of the archaeological excavation department in Aleppo. AP Photo/SANA

More than 250 silver coins dating back to the time of Alexander the Great were unearthed in northern Syria, a Syrian archaeologist said Thursday.

Youssef Kanjo, the head of archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Aleppo, said the coins were discovered two weeks ago in northern Syria when a local man was digging the foundations of his new home.

The man handed the coins, that were found in a bonze box, to authorities, Kanjo said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The coins date from the Hellenic period, which ranges from 4th to the 1st centuries B.C. after Macedonian warrior-king Alexander the Great spread Greek culture into Middle East and beyond with his conquests.

Kanjo added that the box contained two groups of coins, 137 "tetra" drachmas (four drachmas) and 115 single drachma coins.

One side of the tetra drachma coins depicts Alexander the Great, while the other side shows the Greek god Zeus sitting on a throne with an eagle perched on his extended arm.

Some of the coins bear the inscription King Alexander in Greek, while others say Alexander or carry the name of King Philip, most likely referring to his father.

After Alexander the Great's conquests, many of the successor kingdoms in the Middle East adopted drachmas as their currency.

"The discovery is extremely important and would be added to our archaeological treasures that date back to the Hellenic era," Kanjo said.
  • CBSNews

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