WATCH: Rare cache of silver coins from 135–126 BCE found in central Israel

view videoThe found cache of silver coins from the Hasmonean period, comprised of shekels and half-shekels, were minted in the city of Tyre and bear images of King Antiochus VII & his brother Demetrius II.

By i24news


A rare cache of silver coins dating back to the Hasmonean period has been discovered in the central Israeli city of Modi‘in alongside the wall of an agricultural estate during an archaeological excavation, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Monday.

IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin during the discovery of the silver coin hoard that was found in the estate house. – Photo: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority

The treasure was hidden in a rock crevice, up against a wall of an impressive agricultural estate that was discovered during the excavation.

“This is 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,” Avraham Tendler, said director of the excavation. “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.”

Tendler explained that the member had likely buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned.

Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, the head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the cache consists of 16 coins and contains one or two coins from every year between 135–126 BCE, and a total of nine consecutive years are represented.

“It seems that some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector,” Ariel said. “He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today”.

Aerial photograph of the Hasmonean estate house. – Griffin Aerial, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

A number of bronze coins bearing the names of Hasmonean kings such as Yehohanan, Judah, Jonathan or Mattathias were also discovered in the excavation.

According to the IAA, evidence was discovered at the site suggesting that the residents of the estate also participated in the first revolt against the Romans that broke out in 66 CE.


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