June 2012: Archaologists have discovered an antiquities stash in the vicinity of Kiryat Gat, in southern Israel, comprising of about 140 gold and silver coins along with gold jewelry, hidden during the Bar Kokhba Revolt some 1880 years ago. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) stated rooms of an ancient building dating to the Roman and Byzantine period were exposed during the course of the salvage excavation.
Archeologists discerned that a pit had been dug in the earth of the ancient building’s courtyard and then refilled. A spectacular treasure trove of exquisite quality was discovered in the pit. It had been wrapped in a cloth fabric that had deteriorated. It is assumed is was an emergency cache that was concealed at the time of impending danger by a wealthy woman who wrapped her jewelry and money in a cloth and hid them deep in the ground prior to or during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.
The antiquities were removed from the field and transferred for treatment to the laboratories of the Artifacts Treatment Department of the IAA in Jerusalem. The excavation was funded by Y. S. Gat Ltd., the Economic Development Corporation for the Management of the Kiryat Gat Industrial Park.
Archaeologist Emil Aladjem, who directed the excavation on behalf of the IAA, stated the discovery included gold jewelry, in which among them an earring crafted by a jeweler in the shape of a flower and a ring with a precious stone on which there is a seal of a winged-goddess, two sticks of silver that were probably kohl sticks, as well as some 140 gold and silver coins.
The coins that were discovered date to the reigns of the Roman emperors Nero, Nerva and Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire from 54-117 CE. The coins are adorned with the images of the Roman emperors and on their reverse are cultic portrayals of the emperor, symbols of the brotherhood of warriors and mythological gods such as Jupiter seated on a throne or Jupiter grasping a lightning bolt in his hand.
Sa’ar Ganor, District Archaeologist of Ashkelon and the Western Negev for the IAA, stated that the composition of the numismatic artifacts and their quality are consistent with treasure troves that were previously attributed to the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. During the uprising, between 132-135 CE, the Jews under Roman rule would re-strike coins of the emperor Trajan with symbols of the revolt. This discovery includes silver and gold coins of different denominations, most of which date to the reign of the emperor Trajan.