Rare coin discovered in Jerusalem
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Rare coin discovered in Jerusalem

Remember coins?

Remember how much space they took up, and how you never could find them when you needed them? And then there’d be a mint’s worth in between the sofa cushions?

Apparently, someone dropped a coin down a sewer in Jerusalem’s City of David. We’re not exactly sure when, but we do know that the coin, which is rare, was minted 1,949 years ago. It was discovered during an archeological dig last week.

Reut Vilf of the City of David Foundation said the coin, discovered in the sewage system running beneath ancient Jerusalem, dates back to the year 69 C.E., the fourth year of the Jewish revolt against Rome — and the year in which the rebels despaired.

According to Israeli media reports, a cache of bronze coins from that time was found in 2014 in a village near Jerusalem and more were unearthed in a cave by the Temple Mount in 2018, from the second and fourth years of the rebellion.

The coin found last week bears an inscription ancient Hebrew lettering reading “For the Redemption of Zion” and an image of a chalice. 

Its other side depicts the “Four Species” used during Sukkot holiday—the citron fruit, palm frond, and myrtle and willow branches—and the words “Year Four,” referring to the final year of rebellion against the Romans.

The coin was found exactly in the same place that Jews had been hiding in the drainage channel under the street,” Vilf said. Evidence of the rebels’ attempt to hide under the city includes intact oil lamps and whole ceramic pots that were found in the sewer.

What does she think the coin’s inscription means? “Freedom is an immediate thing, while redemption is a process,” she said. “It could attest to their understanding that the end was near.”

Eli Shukron, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the coin easily could have fallen into the drainage system through cracks of the stone-paved road.

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