1,400-year-old coins discovered near Christian pilgrimage site in Jerusalem


(JNS.org) The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Sunday announced the discovery of a hoard of 1,400-year-old coins in excavations near Jerusalem. 

A cache of 1,400-year-old coins discovered in excavations near Jerusalem. Credit: Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

According to the IAA, the cache of nine bronze coins—discovered in a large complex that served Christian pilgrims en route to Jerusalem—serves as “evidence of the Persian invasion at the end of the Byzantine period.” The coins feature the images of three Byzantine emperors: Justinian (483-565 AD), Maurice (539-602 CE) and Phocas (547-610 CE). 

The excavation that led to the finding occurred in June 2016 as part of the expansion of Israel’s Highway 1, which connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A massive two-story structure and an elaborate wine press were revealed in the excavation, and the coins were found among large stones that had collapsed alongside the building.

“It seems that during a time of danger, the owner of the hoard placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall,” said Annette Landes-Nagar, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA. “He probably hoped to go back and collect it, but today we know that he was unable to do so.”

Posted on March 21, 2017 .