Ancient Coin found in Jerusalem

An eleven-year-old Israeli named Liel Krutokop was searching through ancient soil as part of the Emek Tzurim Sifting Project in Jerusalem when she found a pure silver shekel coin dating from the Second Temple period around 2,000 years ago.

The tiny coin weighs only 14 grammes and seems to have been made from the vast silver reserves held in the Second Temple. The inscriptions suggest it was minted by a priest who took part in the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans in AD 67 and 68.

One side has an inscription of a cup with the words ‘Israeli shekel’ in the ancient Hebrew script next to an abbreviation for ‘second year’, referring to the second year of the revolt.

The other side of the coin has an inscription denoting the headquarters of the High Priest, with the words ‘Holy Jerusalem.’

Liel was taking part in a family-friendly archaeological experience run by the City of David and Emek Tzurim National Park in Jerusalem. She explained what happened:

“We poured the bucket with the dirt on the strainer, and as we filtered the stones
that were inside, I saw something round. At first, I did not know what it was,
but it looked different from all the other stones … I was very excited.”

Dr Robert Kool, head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority, described it as a rare find.

“Out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archaeological excavations,
only about 30 are coins made of silver from the period of the Great Revolt.”

He went on to suggest that this particular coin could be one of “the only items we can hold today that originated in the Temple itself.”