11 November 2009

Coins from ancient Jewish revolt

Rare coins,  charred and burned from the Roman destruction of the Temple nearly 2,000 years ago were  displayed today in Jerusalem. About 70 were found in an excavation at a key Jerusalem holy site. They give a rare glimpse into the period of the Jewish revolt that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70. The Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire and took over Jerusalem in A.D. 66. After laying siege to Jerusalem, the Romans breached the city walls and wiped out the rebellion, demolishing the Temple.

The coins sit inside a glass case, some melted down to unrecognizable chunks of pockmarked and carbonized bronze from the flames that destroyed the Temple.
They are a vivid, dramatic example of that destruction. The most important coins  are from the last four or five years of the rebellion against the Romans and one coin was actually minted very close to the destruction of the Second Temple.

The coins were excavated from an ancient street below the Temple Mount. Archaeologists had to sift through debris and remove boulders thrown off the Temple Mount during the Roman raid before they found the road and the hoard of coins.

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