Second Temple period coins discovered from four year Jewish revolt against the Romans in Jerusalem; Historic discovery falls ahead of Passover and “Freedom of the Jewish people 2,000 years later”.
Coins dating back to the the Great Revolt were discovered in a cave near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The 2,000 year-old coins were found as part of the Ophel excavation that started this year. Dozens of bronze and a few silver coins from the four-year Jewish revolt were recently found providing historic information to the events of that time.
The excavation is led by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Institute of Archeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was funded by the Herbert W. Armstrong College of Edmond. The excavation is of the Ophel cave located under the Temple Mount’s southern wall.
The coins discovered were believed to have been hidden in the cave by residents of Jerusalem during the destruction of the Second Temple and final year of the revolt. Coins from the first year of the revolt read “For the freedom of Zion,” and coins from the final year of the revolt read “For the redemption/to save Zion,” depicting the timeline of events of the Roman’s siege of Jerusalem and destruction of its Temple.
The coins depict a goblet used in the Second Temple, as well as the four Biblical species of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the citron, palm, myrtle and willow.
Mazar explained the significance of the discovery just ahead of the Jewish celebration of Passover. She explained, “The discovery of dozens of coins in the center of ancient Jerusalem, bearing the inscription ‘to freedom/to save Zion,’ is of special importance during this period, when the Jewish state is preparing to celebrate Passover and the Freedom of the Jewish people 2,000 years later.”
Mazar and her team discovered a seal impression that may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah in February of this year. During one of her first excavations of Ophel in 1994, her team discovered a seal that was deciphered in 2015. The seal beared the name of King Hezekiah and read “Belonging to Hezekiah Ahaz King of Judah”.
The discovery was most significant, Mazar explained, as it was “the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation.”
Photo: Coins discovered, Dr. Eilat Mazar & Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2018