update deskArchaeology

Hebrew coin from Bar Kokhba revolt found in Judean desert

On one face of the coin is a date palm, along with “Eleazar the Priest” inscribed in ancient Hebrew. On the reverse side, a bunch of grapes is surrounded by the text “Year One of the Redemption of Israel.” 

The ancient Hebrew inscription reads “Eleazar the Priest.” On the reverse side is a bunch of grapes and the test “Year One of the Redemption of Israel.” Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.
The ancient Hebrew inscription reads “Eleazar the Priest.” On the reverse side is a bunch of grapes and the test “Year One of the Redemption of Israel.” Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

A coin dating back nearly two millennia and engraved with the name of “Eleazar the Priest” in ancient Hebrew script has been discovered in the Judean Desert, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

The coin, which dates to the first year of the Bar Kokhba revolt (132 C.E.), was discovered in the Mazuq Ha-he’teqim Nature Reserve, the state-run archaeological body said.

On one face of the coin is a date palm, along with the “Eleazar the Priest” inscription. On the reverse side, a bunch of grapes is surrounded by the text “Year One of the Redemption of Israel,” also in ancient Hebrew script.  

The priest in question may be Rabbi Eleazar Hamod‘ai, who played a significant religious role at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt and who was living in the town of Beitar—the location of the revolt headquarters. The Talmud recounts that he died in the city, probably during the Revolt.

Three additional coins from the time of the Revolt and bearing the name of “Simeon” were also uncovered at the site.

Also among the finds were a scroll fragments of the Twelve Minor Prophets, Roman iron swords—one still in its sheath—the earliest complete basket in the world, and more

A 10-day excavation at the site beginning on March 11 will be open to the public.

“The public is invited to a taste of Zionism, and a touch of ‘escapism’, said IAA Director Eli Escusido.

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