Relive the Past

Israel Exhibited Rare Ancient Coins Excavated From The Jewish Temple Site

Rare Ancient Coins

Israel exhibited for the first time on Wednesday a collection of rare coins charred and burn from the Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple nearly 2,000 years ago.

About 70 coins were found in dig at the foot of a key Jerusalem holy site. They give a rare sight into the period of the Jewish rebellion that ultimately led to the devastation of the Second Jewish Temple in A.D. 70, said Hava Katz, curator of the exhibition.

The Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire and took over Jerusalem in A.D. 66. After laying siege to Jerusalem, the Romans violated the city walls and washed out the rebellion, destroying the Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.

The coins sit inside a glass case, some melted down to unrecognizable hunks of blemished and carbonized bronze from the flames that destroyed the Temple.

“These really show us the impact of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century,” said Gabriela Bijovsky, an antique coin specialist from Israel Antiquities Authority. “These are a very bright, dramatic example of that destruction.”

“The most important coins we have are from those last four or five years of the rebellion against the Roman army, and one coin we found was actually minted very close to the destruction of the Second Temple,” she said.

The coins were unearthed from a prehistoric street below the Temple Mount, experts said. Archaeologists had to sieve through debris and remove the stones thrown off the Temple Mount during the Roman raid before they found the road and the hoard of coins.

Today the Al Aqsa Mosque compound is situated on top of the remains of the temples. Muslims refer to the site as the Noble Sanctuary, marking the spot from where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The contradictory claims make the site one the most explosive issues in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The coins are part of larger displays in Jerusalem’s Archaeological Garden, presenting a collection of antique coins that have been uncovered over the past three decades.

The exhibition displays not only the coins minted in Jerusalem during the rebellion but also European, North African and Persian coins that were found around the holy site from various periods.

“This just shows the international character of the city,” Katz said. “It shows the importance of Jerusalem to generations of people … the importance of Jerusalem never faded away for Jews, Christians and Muslims,” she said.

November 13th, 2009 at 10:39 am


One Response to “Israel Exhibited Rare Ancient Coins Excavated From The Jewish Temple Site”

  1. Ronnie Says:

    hi,just let me know where can i see a picture of the rare coin 5th year of the revolt.was it a shekel ,half a shekel like in the article picture the coin being held? thanks ,Ronnie Tal

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