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1,400-Year-Old Coins Belonging to Persecuted Christians Found Near Jerusalem

  • Amanda Casanova Contributor
  • Published Mar 20, 2017
 1,400-Year-Old Coins Belonging to Persecuted Christians Found Near Jerusalem

A collection of ancient bronze coins that are thought to have belonged to Christians have been discovered on the highway to Jerusalem in an archaeological dig.

The coins are from the late Byzantine era of the seventh century CE. The Israel Antiquities Authority found them.

The coins have the image of the emperors under which they were made. These coins had emperors Justinian (483-565 AD), Maurice (539-602 CE) and Phocas (547-610 CE).

“The hoard was found amongst large stones that had collapsed alongside the building,” said the director of the excavation, Annette Landes-Nagar. “It seems that during a time of danger the owner of the hoard placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall. He probably hoped to go back and collect it.”

Archaeologists believe that Christians left the stash as they were fleeing from Persians during the Sassanid Persian invasion in 614 CE. That was the end of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Archaeologists were digging as part of a planned widening project of a highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Netivei Israel Company, who are financing the highway expansion, and the IAA are working together to conserve the historic discovery site along the highway.


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Publication date: March 20, 2017