Ancient coins from Hasmonean period discovered in central Israel

Rare findings suggest Jews resided in estate; 16 coins found as excavation ongoing

 

The Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed the discovery of a treasure trove of coins dating over 2,150 years old from the Hasmonean period.

The discovery was made when the coins were found hidden between rocks at an archeological excavation near Modi’in. The coins were reportedly hidden in a rock crevice of an agricultural estate. There were a total of 16 coins found, dating to the 2-1 century BC, the coins suggesting the residents of the estate participated in the first revolt against the Romans in 66 AD.

Director of the excavation, Abraham Tendler, explained that the coins are “a rare cache of silver coins from the Hasmonean period comprised of shekels and half-shekels (tetradrachms and didrachms) that were minted in the city of Tyre and bear the images of the king, Antiochus VII and his brother Demetrius II. The cache that we found is compelling evidence that one of the members of the estate who had saved his income for months needed to leave the house for some unknown reason. He buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned. It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it.”

Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, the Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority explained that “some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector. He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today.” He explained how the excavation findings showed signs of the residence being Jewish, such a ritual bath and previous discoveries made at the site, including coins marked “Freedom of Zion”. He explained that “the findings from our excavation show that a Jewish family established an agricultural estate on this hill during the Hasmonean period.”