Archaeology, Jewish History

1600 year old ancient coins discovered in Lod

Archaeologists have uncovered hidden treasures in what appears to be an ancient Jewish public building in the Israeli city of Lod. According to the Israel antiquities Authority, these findings date back to 351 AD during the last Jewish revolt in the Roman era. 

Ancient coins discovered (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Coins uncovered hidden beneath a building's floor 1,650 years ago provide compelling evidence regarding the final Jewish revolt against Roman rule. This incredible discovery in Lod marks the first documented evidence of the Gallus Revolt, a resistance movement that occurred between 351 and 354 CE, according to I24 reports.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Lod Municipality made the significant discovery during excavations of a Jewish public building that had been violently destroyed. 94 bronze and silver coins were unearthed, dating from 221 to 354 CE. They were found hidden under the structure, likely placed there deliberately in anticipation of safer times for retrieval.

This find sheds light on a historically murky period, as textual records are scarce regarding the Gallus Revolt, which saw Roman forces, led by Caesar Flavius Constantinus Gallus, dismantle major Jewish communities including Lod, Zipori, and Tiberias.

Excavations in Lod, a central Israeli city with deep historical roots, have unearthed a poignant reminder of ancient Jewish resistance against Roman rule. Recently announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the findings from an excavation of a Late Roman to Early Byzantine period Jewish public building reveal a compelling narrative of defiance and destruction.

Beneath the ruins of this ancient structure, which suffered a violent fate, further treasures were unlocked. Alongside the coins, the excavation yielded impressive stone and marble artefact's, adorned with inscriptions in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Of particular note is an inscription bearing the name of a Jewish man from a priestly lineage, which is currently under scholarly scrutiny for further research.

The absence of pig bones among the animal remains found further underscores the building's association with the Jewish community. Professor Joshua Schwartz, Council Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, suggests the building may have functioned as a synagogue, study hall, or meeting place for community leaders, reflecting its pivotal role in ancient Lod.

These remarkable findings will be detailed in a forthcoming book to be presented at the Central Israel Region Archaeological Conference, hosted jointly by Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Eretz Yisrael Museum in Tel Aviv.

Shahar Krispin and Mor Weiss of the Israel Antiquities Authority, leading the excavation, describe the site as a "magnificent Jewish building that housed the city’s elders," emphasizing Lod's historical significance as a prominent Jewish centre following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Mayor Yair Revivo of Lod celebrated the discovery, affirming the city's ancient history and expressing hopes that the site's unveiling will attract tourists and visitors eager to explore its rich historical heritage.

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