Monday, December 06, 2021

Hanukkah antiquities apprehension

APPREHENDED: Ancient Hasmonean artifacts found in east Jerusalem at end of Hanukkah. The items were examined by officials of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the suspect was arrested and taken in for questioning (Jerusalem Post Blogs).
Among the artifacts were a coin dated back to the time of Antigonus II Mattathias, the last Hasmonean king, as well as a Hasmonean-era oil candle and a biblical-era seal ring with ancient Hebrew inscriptions.
The inscribed seal ring (seal?) sounds like the most interesting of the objects recovered. Oddly, there is no photograph of it.

The "oil candle" appears to be a ceramic oil lamp. I suspect "candle" is a mistranslation from a Hebrew article or press release.

The objects are unprovenanced. If there are a lot of coins, most of them are likely genuine. Coins are not valuable enough to forge unless they are rare. The valuable coin, the pictured ceramic fragment inscribed with a menorah, and the unpictured "seal ring" are a more complicated matter. I will keep an open mind about whether they are genuine until I hear more about their authentication.

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