Bar Kochba Coin Found in Lachish

YERUSHALAYIM -

A rare coin believed to be from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt was discovered recently in the Lachish region, southwest of Yerushalayim, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Monday.

Tour guide Maayan Shalom and her friend Shiri Burchard were on a hike in the area when a round, green object sticking out of the ground drew their attention.

Once the mud and dirt encasing the coin was cleared off, they thought it was worth taking to an expert for appraisal. Dr. Zvika Tzuk, the chief archaeologist of the Nature and Parks Authority, turned it over to Dr. Danny Syon of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Syon made a preliminary identification of the images and inscriptions on the coin, estimating that it dates back to 133 or 134 CE.

One side of the coin bore an image of a palm tree with seven branches and two clusters of grapes above the name “Shimon” — Bar Kochba’s first name — in ancient Hebrew. The obverse had a vine leaf with a twig, and around it an inscription, “the second year to the freedom of Israel.”

The location of the find also supports the thesis that it came from that period, as the Givat Gad nature reserve west of Chevron, in the Lachish region, is an area where scholars believe Bar Kochba was active.

“The road near where the coin was found connects a number of communities with hiding places from the days of Bar Kochba,” said Tzuk. “It is possible that one of the residents or fighters who moved from one community to another lost the coin, which waited 1,885 years until it was found.”

It was thought that the recent heavy rains were the cause of the coin being pushed to the surface.