A uncommon historic coin dated to the time of the First Jewish Revolt towards the Roman Empire has been found within the Judean Desert.
Researchers discovered the silver “half-shekel” coin, which is round 2,000 years outdated, throughout a survey carried out within the desert by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The desert, which lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Useless Sea, covers components of the West Financial institution and Israel.
The coin was discovered within the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, which is situated in Israel on the western shore of the Useless Sea—throughout the Judean Desert Survey Undertaking, the IAA stated in a press release.
The mission, which started about six years in the past, goals to retrieve archaeological treasures within the area earlier than they’re discovered by antiquity looters.
Throughout current work, IAA inspectors got here throughout the coin on the bottom outdoors the doorway of a cave within the Ein Gedi space. The coin was minted in Jerusalem and is dated to A.D. 66/67, across the time of the First Jewish Revolt.
The revolt, which lasted between A.D. 66 and 70, was a Jewish insurrection towards Roman rule within the historic territory of Judea.
Whereas the Romans suffered some navy losses, they ultimately managed to suppress the insurrection, which resulted within the deaths of many hundreds of Jews, the autumn of Jerusalem and the burning of the town’s Second Temple.
One potential rationalization behind the newest discovery is that the coin fell from the pocket of a insurgent who escaped to the desert throughout the revolt, in keeping with the IAA.
On one facet of the coin, the phrase “The Holy Jerusalem” seems in historic Hebrew script, alongside an outline of three pomegranates.
On the opposite facet of the coin, a chalice is depicted, above which lies the letter “Aleph”—marking the primary yr of the revolt’s outbreak and the worth of the half-shekel. Such cash had been minted in denominations of half-shekel and shekel—a foreign money utilized in historic Israel.
Throughout the revolt, rebels minted their very own silver and bronze cash depicting Jewish symbols with out the picture of the ruling Roman emperor. This was an act of defiance and an try to create a type of inside financial system among the many Jewish rebels.
Cash from the primary yr of the revolt, reminiscent of the newest discovery, are uncommon, in keeping with consultants.
“The discover of the silver half-shekel throughout managed archaeological exercise is a uncommon occasion in Israel, and within the Judean Desert particularly,” Amir Ganor, a director of the Judean Desert Survey Undertaking, stated within the assertion. “This discover emphasizes the significance of the managed skilled survey of your entire Judean Desert.”
Ganor continued: “Each new discover contributes to the historical past of the individuals and the nation. Had been it not for the survey, the coin might have been discovered by antiquity looters and offered on the antiquity marketplace for the very best worth supplied. Over the six years of the mission, now we have recorded over 800 caves and have discovered hundreds of serious finds.”
IAA Director Eli Escusido stated the coin’s discovery is firsthand proof of a “turbulent” interval in Jewish historical past.
Newsweek has contacted the IAA for remark by way of e-mail.