The coins are believed to date back to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE). The coins are believed to date back to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE). The coins are believed to date back to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE). (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

2,000-year-old silver coins discovered

Archaeologists say they are among the first set of coins ever minted.

Ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood in the city of Modi'in, Israel archaeologists found a stash of silver coins which they believe date back to the late Hellenistic period (126 BCE) and are among the first group of coins ever minted.

Bearing the images of Hasmonean King Antiochus VII and his brother, Demetrius II, the treasure was found hidden in a rock crevice, up against a wall of an agricultural estate that was discovered during the excavation there.

“A hoard of early silver coins is rare,” Robert Kool, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s curator of coins said. “It’s not common to find this in excavations."

16 rare silver coins were discovered alongside a cache of bronze coins.16 rare silver coins were discovered alongside a cache of bronze coins. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

The silver coins totalled 16 in all, and contained one or two coins from every year between 135–126 BCE. They were found alongside numerous bronze coins minted by the Hasmonean kings.

"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, 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 Avraham Tendler, director of the excavation.

An industrial area that includes an olive press and storehouses where the olive oil was kept was also uncovered as were dozens of rock-hewn winepresses.



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