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Rare Hoard of Coins Unearthed

September 16, 2014
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Pottery sherds discovered by an Israel Antiquities Authority inspector during extensive work on the new Highway 1 project resulted in an archaeological excavation in which a previously unknown settlement from the Late Second Temple Period was discovered. In addition, a rare hoard of coins was found in one of its houses. The hoard, which was kept in a ceramic money box, included 114 bronze coins dating to the Year Four of the Great Revolt against the Romans. This revolt led to the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of the month of Av) c. 2,000 years ago.

According to Pablo Betzer and Eyal Marco, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The hoard, which appears to have been buried several months prior to the fall of Jerusalem, provides us with a glimpse into the lives of Jews living on the outskirts of Jerusalem at the end of the rebellion. Evidently someone here feared the end was approaching and hid his property, perhaps in the hope of collecting it later when calm was restored to the region.” All of the coins are stamped on one side with a chalice and the Hebrew inscription “To the Redemption of Zion” and on the other side with a motif that includes a bundle of lulav [closed palm frond] between two etrogs [fragrant citrus fruit]. Around this is the Hebrew inscription “Year Four,” that is, the fourth year of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans (AD 69–70).

The hoard was concealed in the corner of a room, perhaps inside a wall niche or buried in the floor. Two other rooms and a courtyard belonging to the same building were exposed during the course of the archaeological excavation. The structure was built in the first century BC and was destroyed in AD 69 or AD 70 when the Romans were suppressing the Great Revolt. Early in the second century, part of the building was re-inhabited for a brief period, which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish settlement in Judea as a result of the Bar Kokhba rebellion. This is attested to by three complete jars that were discovered embedded in the courtyard floor.

It seems that the residents of this village, like most of the Jewish villages in Judea, were active participants in both of the major uprisings against the Romans—the Great Revolt and the Bar Kokhba Revolt. As a result of their involvement the place was destroyed twice, and was not resettled.

Source: Excerpts of a press release by the Israel Antiquities Authority

Photo Credit: Ashernet (6261)

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