'Rare' silver coins found in Israel

Tel Aviv:Israeli archaeologists on Tuesday said they have unearthed "rare" silver coins that a Jewish farmer stashed outside his home west of Jerusalem some 2,140 years ago.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said the coins were found in Modiin city during salvage excavation ahead of the construction of a new neighbourhood, Xinhua news agency reported.

A statement by the Antiquities Authority said the coins were dated back to 128 BC, or the Hasmonean period, during which the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty ruled Judea, an area that includes Jerusalem and its vicinity.

"The treasure was hidden in a rock crevice, up against a wall of an impressive agricultural estate that was discovered during the excavation there," the statement read.

Excavation director, Avraham Tendler, said the "rare cache" of ancient two-drachmas and four-drachmas coins bear the images of the king, Antiochus VII and his brother Demetrius II. They were minted in the ancient city of Tyre on Lebanon's Mediterranean coast.

"The cache may have belonged to a Jew who hid his money in the hope of coming back to collect it, but he was unlucky and never returned," Tendler said in a statement. He added that the cache equalled to "several months" income.

"It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it," he added.