Bronze coin from 4th year of Great Revolt found at national park

The discovery was made in sifting project in the City of David.

July 2, 2018 16:34
2 minute read.
Bronze coin from 4th year of Great Revolt found at national park

A bronze coin from the fourth year of the Great Revolt discovered in the City of David, July 2018. (photo credit: ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE - CITY OF DAVID AT EMEK ZURIM NATIONAL PARK)


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A bronze coin from the fourth year of the Great Revolt was discovered at the archaeological sifting project at Emek Zurim National Park, the City of David announced.

The discovery was made during excavations led by the Antiquities Authority at the City of David National Park, supervised by archaeologist Eli Shukrun.

The coin, minted by Jews in 69 CE, a year before the destruction of the Second Temple, features the words “For the Redemption of Zion” in ancient Hebrew script, with an image of a goblet under the inscription.

On the back of the coin is an image of the Four Species used on Sukkot and the words “Year Four” – representing the fourth year of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans.

In 70 CE, the revolt was subdued and the Second Temple destroyed.

“The Jews minted coins throughout the entire period of the revolt, but in the fourth year of the fiveyear rebellion, we see that instead of the words ‘Freedom for Zion,’ the coins were minted with the words ‘For the Redemption of Zion,’” Shukrun said.

The difference between freedom and redemption expresses the change that took place, both in their mindset and in reality, at that time,” he said. “Coins that were minted in the second and third years of the revolt are plentiful and easier to find, but coins from the fourth year are much rarer.”

The coins were discovered as part of the “Archaeological Experience” activity offered to the general public at the sifting project run by the City of David at Emek Zurim National Park. The project lets participants, together with archaeologists, sift through artifact-rich soil from excavations held by the Antiquities Authority at the City of David and throughout ancient Jerusalem.

The coin was found in soil extracted from the drainage canal at the City of David National Park, which passed underneath Jerusalem’s main street at the end of the Second Temple period. According to the writings of Josephus Flavius, and based on archaeological evidence, the last remaining Jewish rebels hid from the Romans in this drainage canal.

“It is possible that this coin was in the pocket of one of the residents of Jerusalem who hid from the Romans in the tunnels underneath the city streets,” Shukrun says, “or perhaps it rolled into the drainage canal, dropped from the hand of someone walking down the streets of Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.”

The City of David highlighted the timing of the discovery, which came before the beginning of Three Weeks, which began on Sunday with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, the date when Jerusalem’s walls were breached. The Three Weeks end with the fast of Tisha Be’av, the date the First and Second Temples were destroyed.

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