Rubble Yields Silver Temple ‘Tax’ Half-shekel

Originally published: https://web.archive.org/web/20090714032524/http://smoothstoneblog.com/2008/12/rubble-yields-silver-temple-tax-half-shekel.htm

Another stab into the heart of the mythos of “ancient Palestine”.  Via JPost:


Photo: Leah Ne’eman

Two ancient coins, one used to pay the Temple tax and another minted by the Greek leader the Jews fought in the story of Hanukka, have been uncovered amid debris from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, an Israeli archeologist said Thursday.

The two coins were recently found in rubble discarded by Islamic officials from the Temple Mount. It is carefully being sifted by two archeologists and a team of volunteers at a Jerusalem national park.

The first coin, a silver half-shekel, was apparently minted on the Temple Mount itself by Temple authorities in the first year of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66-67 CE, said Bar-Ilan University Professor Gabriel Barkay, who is leading the sifting operation.

One side of the coin, which was found by a 14-year-old volunteer, shows a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Holy Jerusalem”; the other side bears a chalice from the First Temple and says “Half-Shekel.”

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