Sixteen silver coins featuring kings from the Hasmonean era have been unearthed at an ancient Judean estate near Modi’in. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Tuesday that the coins were deliberately hidden by the occupants of the estate to make sure the “treasure” did not fall into the wrong hands.
Avraham Tendler, who was in charge of the excavation, said, “This is a rare cache of silver coins from the Hasmonean period comprising shekels and half-shekels (tetradrachms and didrachms) that were minted in the city of Tyre and bear the images of the king, Antiochus VII, and his brother Demetrius II.”
“The cache that we found is compelling evidence that one of the members of the estate who had saved his income for months needed to leave the house for some unknown reason,” said Tendler. “He buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned. It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it.”
Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the IAA’s Coin Department, said, “The cache, which consists of 16 [silver] coins, contains one or two coins from every year between 135 and 126 BCE, and a total of nine consecutive years are represented. It seems that some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector. He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today.”