2,000-Year-Old Freedom to Zion Coins Found in the Heart of the Bible – .

2,000-Year-Old Freedom to Zion Coins Found in the Heart of the Bible – .

The 2,000-year-old coins that date back to the period of the Jewish revolts against the Romans on July 13, 2021. (TAL ROGOVSKY)

The area is located in the northern part of the Judean Desert.
“We conducted the survey about a year ago with a group of my students,” said Dr Dvir Raviv from Bar-Ilan, who led the initiative. “We had heard of antiquity looters active in the area, and in particular in a cave near Wadi Rashash. I visited the cave and saw pottery shards and potential for interesting finds.

An archaeological investigation does not involve extensive excavation, but rather having researchers sample what is on the surface of an area or simply very limited excavations.

Bar-Ilan’s investigation was not limited to the cave, but also extended to the surrounding area.

One coin was found near Wadi Rashash and another in a place known as Hirbet J’bait.

The artifact found at Hirbet J’bait was minted around AD 67. It features a fig leaf and the Hebrew inscription Hérouth Sion (Liberty for Sion) on one side, and a goblet and the inscription “An Two” on the other. Just three years later, in 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Several other remains from this period, including a ritual bath, have been discovered in the region.

The second piece dates back to the time of the Bar Kochba uprising some 70 years later. He wears a palm branch surrounded by a crown and the inscription LeHerut Yerushalayim (Freedom in Jerusalem) on one side and a musical instrument and the name “Shimon” on the other – the first name of rebellion leader Bar Kochba.

The revolt – also known as the Third Jewish Revolt – erupted because of religious restrictions imposed by the Romans, as well as their decision to build a Roman city on the ruins of Jewish Jerusalem, including a pagan shrine where found the temple.

At the time, coins were seen as an important expression of sovereignty, as stated by Donald T. Ariel, head of the coins department at the Israel Antiquities Authority. Jerusalem post in a recent interview. “To strike coins that are supposed to be free. “

SEVERAL HUNDREDS of Bar Kochba coins have been found during excavations around the Land of Israel – mainly in the area known as Judea at the time – where the insurgents managed to achieve significant victories over the Romans and to establish a brief independent entity.

Some have been found in caves in several parts of the Judean Desert.

However, the discovery of Wadi Rashash marks the first time that such an artifact has been discovered at this specific location.

At the time, the region was the 11th district of the province of Judea. Its capital was Aqrabat; a modern Arab village of the same name still stands in the same spot.

“Wadi Rashash’s play indicates the presence of a Jewish population in the area until the end of the Bar Kochba revolt, contrary to what researchers previously thought: that the Jewish settlements north of Jerusalem have all been destroyed during the Great Revolt and the area was not resettled afterwards, ”Raviv said.

“This coin is in fact the first evidence that the Akrabat region, the northernmost of the districts of Judea in Roman times, was controlled by the administration of Bar Kochba,” he noted.

The closest find of Bar Kochba coins was during an excavation carried out by the Americans in the 1960s in a cave about six kilometers from Wadi Rashash.

Besides coins, archaeologists have uncovered shards of pottery and other items suggesting the continuity of the Jewish settlement at the time.

The caves of Wadi Rashash were much smaller than those in other parts of the Judean Desert, where Jewish refugees were known to have been in hiding.

“However, based on the amount of pottery, we can assume that dozens of people have taken refuge there,” Raviv said.

The caves had the advantage of being very close to the source and also to an ancient settlement that existed where the Arab village of Duma stands today.

“Therefore, we can assume that these refugees found refuge very close to their homes,” Raviv said.

During the investigation, archaeologists found signs of looting, he said, which is common in the area.

In the future, Raviv hopes to be able to conduct a full excavation of the site.


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