An 11-year-old girl in Jerusalem uncovered a silver shekel coin that archeologists believe could have been minted by a priest in the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago.
The discovery of the coin was made by Liel Krutokop, who was sifting through dirt during a family-friendly “archaeological experience” in collaboration with the City of David and Emek Tzurim National Park in Jerusalem.
“We poured the bucket with the dirt on the strainer, and as we filtered the stones that were inside, I saw something round,” Krutokop said. “At first, I did not know what it was, but it looked different from all the other stones … I was very excited.”
The coin, which was found on the ancient “Pilgrimage Road” in the City of David, had the engraving “Second Year.” It was likely used during the second year of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Roman empire between 67 and 68 AD.
According to CBN News, the other side of the coin had “Holy Jerusalem” written on it in ancient Hebrew. The phrase appeared next to an inscription denoting the headquarters of the High Priest.
Dr. Robert Kool, Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the coin was likely made from high-quality silver located in the Second Temple reserves.
“If so, we can say with caution that this coin is, apparently, one of the only items we hold today that originated on the Temple [Mount] itself,” Kool said.
“This is a rare find, since out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archeological excavations, only about 30 coins are coins made of silver, from the period of the Great Revolt,” he continued.
Kool also theorized that a priest who was sympathetic to the Jewish rebels minted the ancient coin.
“A currency is a sign of sovereignty,” he explained. “If you go into rebellion, you use one of the most obvious symbols of independence, and you mint coins. The inscription on the coin clearly expresses the rebels’ aspirations.”
He added that the Hebrew inscription was not “accidental” despite no longer being in use at the time.
“The use of this script came to express the longing of the people of the period for the days of David and Solomon and the days of a united Jewish kingdom – days when the people of Israel had full independence in the land,” he said.
According to experts, the coin was used for trade in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.
“This street, which connected the Siloam Pool in the south of the City of David to the Temple Mount in the north, was Jerusalem’s main street during the Second Temple period, where thousands of pilgrims marched on their way to the Temple,” archaeologist Ari Levy, Director of the Excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said.
“There is no doubt that there would have been extensive trading here,” he added. “This is evidenced by the many weights and bronze coins we have found here. But to find a rebel coin made of pure silver is definitely very special and exciting.”
The coin has been chemically cleaned and will be shown to the public for the Hannukah holiday at Emek Tzurim National Park.