A rare cache of silver coins discovered during an excavation in Modi’in, Israel, southeast of Tel Aviv, date back to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE). The 2000-year old hoard of 16 coins was found embedded in a rock crevice near a wall of an agricultural estate.The coins are comprised of shekels and half-shekels and have images of the king, Antiochus VII and his brother Demetrius II hunched on it.
According to a report published by Israel Antiquity Authority, the estate belonged to a Jewish family, who planted olive trees, vineyards, grew grain in valleys and neighboring hills. It was fortified with walls made of stones to guard against marauding bandits.
“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. 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,” said Excavation director, Avraham Tendler.
The coins represent the consecutive nine years from 126 to 135 BCE.
“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” said Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, the head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the report.
The evidence also indicates the religious inclination of Jews who followed laws of ritual purity and impurity.
In 66CE, during a revolt against Romans, the residents of the estate participated in the fight. Moreover, the estate lived after the demolition of the Temple in 70 CE,
“It seems that local residents did not give up hope of gaining their independence from Rome, and they were well-prepared to fight the enemy during the Bar Kokhba uprising”, Live Science reported Tender saying.