Rare 2,550-Year-Old Silver Coin Unearthed in Judean Hills

By Hamodia Staff

The ancient coin. (Emil Aladjen/Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists have unearthed a remarkably rare silver coin dating back 2,550 years to the Persian period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.

This discovery is one of only a handful of its kind found in Israel.

Dr. Robert Kool, head of the Antiquities Authority’s Numismatic Department, emphasized the rarity of the coin, noting that it belongs to a small group of early coins minted outside Israel in regions like ancient Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. The coin provides crucial information about the transition from using silver pieces by weight to the adoption of coins in global commerce during the 6th–5th centuries BCE.

The intentional cut in two suggests that, in the 4th century BCE, the coin served as a weighted silver piece rather than a fully recognized coin, despite the prevalence of silver coins during that era.

Excavators also found a one-shekel weight from the First Beis Hamikdash period at the same site in the Judean Hills where Road 375 is undergoing expansion. The road stretches from Tzur Hadassah near Yerushalayim to a central-Israel junction south of Beit Shemesh.

Michal Mermelstein and Danny Benayoun, excavation directors, revealed that the site, dating back to the 7th century BCE, represents a rural area of the Kingdom of Yehudah. Noteworthy discoveries, such as a characteristic “four-room house” and the shekel weight adorned with an ancient Egyptian hieratic abbreviation, highlight meticulous weighing practices for metals, spices, and other commodities at the time.

The one-shekel weight, weighing 11.07 grams, and the rare silver coin offer glimpses into ancient economic habits, showcasing the enduring nature of human thought processes thousands of years ago.

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