1,400 year old coin hoard discovered prior to highway expansion in Israel
A cache of nine bronze coins from the end of the Byzantine period (seventh century CE) was discovered in salvage excavations that the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted as part of widening Highway 1, near 'En Hemed, financed by the Netivei Israel Company.
|The nine bronze coins [Credit: Yuli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority]|
The coins bear the images of three important Byzantine emperors: Justinian (483-565 AD), Maurice (539-602 CE) and Phocas (547-610 CE). They were struck at three different mints, Constantinople, Antioch, and Nicomedia, all of which are located in what is today Turkey. An image of the emperor wearing military garb and carrying crosses is depicted on the obverse of the coins, while the reverse indicates the coin’s denomination and is usually inscribed with the letter M.
|The buried coins were revealed beneath the ruins of a building that was part of a large complex which apparently served |
Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem [Credit: Yuli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority]
Fearing an invasion and imminent danger, the residents of the site buried their money against the wall hoping to return home at the end of the disturbances, which did not happen. The site was abandoned and destroyed, and ultimately covered over and incorporated in the agricultural terraces that characterize the region.
|Excavations at a Byzantine-era site west of Jerusalem, near the village of Ein Nakuba, in 2016 |
[Credit: Yuli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority]
According to Amit Shadman, the district archaeologist for Judah, “The Israel Antiquities Authority and Netivei Israel are working together to conserve the site as a landmark in the scenery alongside Highway No. 1."
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority [March 21, 2017]