Artifacts including 114 bronze coins have been found among remains of
a previously unknown settlement discovered during highway construction
Antiquities Authority confirmed to Coin World Aug. 18
that an ancient ceramic money box with the coins was discovered near
the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv Highway. The coins were found inside a house in
a previously unknown settlement from the Late Second Temple period.
Pottery shards discovered by an IAA inspector several months ago led
to the archaeological excavation where the coin find was made.
The coins date to Year Four of the Jewish Revolt. The revolt against
the Romans began in A.D. 66 and eventually led to the destruction of
the temple and the massacre of the Jewish resisters in A.D. 70.
Coins were issued for five years, and are available in multiple
denominations. Expert David Hendin explores them in Guide to
Biblical Coins, now in its fifth edition. Among coins issued in
Year Four were bronze half, quarter- and eighth-shekel pieces.
According to Pablo Betzer and Eyal Marco, excavation directors, on
behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “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 in the hoard feature a chalice and the Hebrew
inscription “To the Redemption of Zion” on the obverse, and a bundle
of lulav (myrtle, palm branch and willow tied together) between two
etrogs (citrus fruits).
Around this is the Hebrew inscription “Year Four,” indicating that
the coins were struck circa A.D. 69 to A.D. 70.
According to Hendin, these Year Four bronze coins reflect the waning
fortune and strength of the Israeli defenders. Earlier bronze issues
have an inscription translating to “Freedom of Zion.” The change in
legend may reflect “the Jewish insurgents’ realization that they would
soon be defeated,” Hendin wrote.
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 archaeological
excavation. The structure was built in the first century B.C. and was
destroyed in A.D. 69 or A.D. 70 when the Romans were suppressing the
Early in the second century, part of the building was reinhabited
for a time, which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish
settlement as a result of the Bar Kokhba rebellion. According to the
IAA, “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.”
Officials of the IAA and Netivei Israel Company (the construction
company) are considering whether it will be possible to preserve the
village remains within the framework of the landscape development
alongside the highway.
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