Tag Archives: Traditional Jewish coins


BLOG 399 June 25, 2018

It’s been awhile since I updated you on what archeology is turning up in Israel. Believe you me, there’s been a flurry of activity and a number of important discoveries have been found. Here’s a sample of recent finds.

Coins have always been an important source  of information about the past. Because metal does not deteriorate like cloth and wood does, the metal in coins confirms events in the ancient past and helps us understand how biblical experiences happened.

The archeological dig by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem uncovered dozens of bronze coins dating back to the Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire around 66 to 70 CE.. Some of the coins date earlier, but most are from the final years of the revolt when the Second Temple was totally destroyed.  During the fourth year of the revolt just before the Temple was burned, the Jews marked their coins, “For the Freedom of Zion.” When it was clear they were losing the battle, the markings changed to read, “For the Redemption of Zion.”

The coins also bore the markings of traditional Jewish symbols related to the Sukkot holidays like palms, myrtle, citron, and willow.

Mazar’s finds were in a cave left behind by Jewish residents. She noted that it is amazing that no one had found this cave before nor was it used after the Second Temple period. The cave became a veritable time capsule of life during the four year period of the revolt.

A similar find from a later period were coins of the last struggle, the Bar Kokhba revolt in 136-134 CE.  Also found in a cave, the coins were in the Qibya cave that is about 20 miles northwest of Ramallah. These coins are marked with a palm tree and the inscription, “To the Freedom of Jerusalem.” Probably, the coins were brought by refugees who lived in the area around 135 CE. During the Bar Kokhba revolt Jews were forced out of their homes and hide in caves.

In April of this year, students from Armstrong College were part of the find involving Dr. Eilat Mazar. The students had taken courses at their college and came prepared with equipment to help them dig. Their involvement in finding coins was an experience of a lifetime. They knew they were touching the past.

My report is only the tip of the iceberg because so much more is going on. Nowhere in the world is the past being uncovered and revealed as it is in Israel.

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