Ancient coins From Maccabean Period discovered in Judean desert cave

December 14, 2022 by Pesach Benson
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Ahead of the Chanukah holiday celebrating the Jewish revolt against Greek rule, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a hoard of 2,200-year-old coins from that period.

Photo by Shai Halevy/Israel Antiquities Authority on 13 December 2022

A rare wooden box containing 15 silver coins dating to the reign of Antiochos IV was discovered in May during an excavation in the Darageh Stream Nature Reserve overlooking the Dead Sea. The IAA said they were found in a wooden box discovered in a crack in the cave.

According to the IAA, the coins were minted by Ptolemy VI, King of Egypt. Ptolemy reigned at the same time as his uncle, Antiochos Epiphanes IV (“the Wicked) ruled the Seleucid Kingdom, which included Judea.

Based on the date of the latest coin in the hoard in 170 BCE, the year when the cache was hidden is fixed to the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt against Antiochos Epiphanes IV’s decrees against the Jewish religion or to the events that led up to the Revolt. The three oldest coins in the cache were minted in 176/5 BCE, and the latest coin is dated to 171/0 BCE.

The coins will be exhibited to the public during the Chanukah holiday at the Hasmonean Museum in Modi’in.

“The coin hoard that will be exhibited to the public in the framework of the Israel Heritage Week events fires the imagination and connects us with ‘those days in this season,’” said IAA director Eli Escusido. “This is the Hannukah ‘gelt’ (money) that the Israel Antiquities Authority is donating to the people and the State of Israel. I invite the public to take part in the excavations in the Wadi Muraba‘at cave in December. We consider that the cave has not yet said its final word!”


One Response to “Ancient coins From Maccabean Period discovered in Judean desert cave”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Interesting story

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