Israel displays 2,000-year-old coins
JERUSALEM - Israel displayed for the first time yesterday a collection of rare coins charred and burned from the Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple nearly 2,000 years ago.
About 70 coins were found in an excavation at the foot of a key Jerusalem holy site. They give a rare glimpse into the period of the Jewish revolt that led to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in 70 AD, said Hava Katz, curator of the exhibition.
The Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire and took over Jerusalem in 66 AD. After laying siege to Jerusalem, the Romans breached the city walls and wiped out the rebellion, demolishing the Jewish Temple, the holiest site in Judaism.
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.
“These really show us the impact of the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century,’’ said Gabriela Bijovsky, an antique coin specialist from Israel Antiquities Authority.
The exhibition shows not only coins minted in Jerusalem during the rebellion but also European, North African and Persian coins that were found around the holy site from various periods.