Photo Credit: Courtesy City of David
Jewish coin from the year 69

Just as the Three Weeks between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av have begun, a bronze coin from the fourth year of the Great Revolt against the Romans has been discovered at the archaeological sifting project at Emek Zurim National Park, City of David reported. The source of the soil is the excavations led by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the City of David National Park, supervised by archaeologist Eli Shukrun.

The coin, minted by Jews in the year 69 CE, right before the destruction of the Second Temple, features the words “For the Redemption of Zion” in ancient Hebrew script, with an image of a goblet under the inscription.

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The back of the coin has an image of the Four Species and the words “Year Four” – rereferring to the fourth year of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans. Just a short time afterward, in the year 70 CE, the revolt was crushed and the much of the city, including the Second Temple, destroyed.

“The Jews minted coins throughout the entire period of the revolt, but in the fourth year of the five-year rebellion, we see that instead of the words ‘Freedom for Zion,’ the coins were minted with the words ‘For the Redemption of Zion,'” explains Shukrun. “The difference between freedom and redemption expresses the change that took place, both in their mindset and in reality, at that time.”

“Coins that were minted in the second and third years of the revolt are plentiful and easier to find, but coins from the fourth year are much rarer,” Shukrun noted.

The coins were discovered as part of the “Archaeological Experience” which is being offered to the general public at the sifting project run by the City of David at the Emek Zurim National Park. The project invites children and adults to come to Emek Zurim and sift through artifact-rich soil from excavations held by the Antiquities Authority at the City of David, as well as soil dug up illegally by the Waqf on the Temple Mount.

The coin was found at the City of David National Park, in soil extracted from a drainage canal which passed underneath Jerusalem’s main street at the end of the Second Temple period. According to the writings of Josephus Flavius, and based on archaeological evidence, the last remaining Jewish rebels hid from the Romans in this drainage canal.

“It is possible that this coin was in the pocket of one of the residents of Jerusalem who hid from the Romans in the tunnels underneath the city streets,” Shukrun said, “or perhaps it dropped from the hand of someone walking down the streets of Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago, and rolled into the drainage canal.”

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