Ancient silver coin hoard found in Israel features pieces from the city of Tyre

Provides look at life in second century B.C.
By , Coin World
Published : 06/10/16
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The site of the find had been an agricultural estate founded by a Jewish family during the Hasmonean period, according to a description provided by the IAA. 

Where was the hoard?

The family planted olive trees and vineyards on the neighboring hills and grew grain in valleys. An industrial area that includes an olive press and storehouses where the olive oil was kept is currently being uncovered next to the estate. Dozens of rock-hewn winepresses were exposed in the cultivation plots next to the estate. The estate house was built of massive walls in order to provide security from the attacks of bandits. 

The finds indicate that the estate continued to operate throughout the Early Roman period. The Jewish inhabitants of the estate meticulously adhered to the laws of ritual purity and impurity: they installed ritual baths (miqwe’ot or miqwe) in their settlement and used vessels made of chalk, which according to Jewish law cannot become ritually unclean.

Why does it matter?

Evidence discovered at the site suggests that the residents of the estate also participated in the first revolt against the Romans that broke out in 66 A.D.: the coins that were exposed from this period are stamped with the date “Year Two” of the revolt and the slogan “Freedom of Zion.” 

The estate continued to operate even after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., and remained occupied through the Bar Kokhba War from 132 to 136 A.D. 

“It seems that local residents did not give up hope of gaining their independence from Rome, and they were well-prepared to fight the enemy during the Bar Kokhba uprising,” Tendler said. “During the excavation we saw how prior to the uprising the inhabitants of the estate filled the living rooms next to the outer wall of the building with large stones, thus creating a fortified barrier.”

Tendler singled out additional hiding places that were discovered hewn in the bedrock beneath the floors of the estate house. These refuge complexes were connected by means of tunnels between water cisterns, storage pits and hidden rooms. This construction allowed stealthiness for Jews in the Bar Kokhba War. 

Archaeologists discovered a miqwe containing an opening inside it that led to an extensive hiding refuge in which numerous artifacts were found that date to the time of the Bar Kokhba uprising, according to Tendler. 

Finds revealed in the excavation will be preserved in an archaeological park in the new neighborhood, according to the IAA. 

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