NUMISMATICS: 2,200-year-old coin hoard gives hard proof of Book of Maccabees, say archaeologists. Trove of silver coins – two months’ average salary – documents bloody persecution preceding the famous Hanukkah revolt when Jews fled to the desert, as written in I Maccabees 2:29
(Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
Since 2017, the IAA has spearheaded an ambitious survey of some 500 caves in the Judean Desert — in part to look for more Dead Sea Scrolls, in part to beat antiquities looters to priceless archaeological artifacts. The pristine wooden box was discovered in one of the four Muraba’at Caves where, some 70 years after the first scientific excavations took place in the 100-meter cave near the Dead Sea, exciting new objects are still coming to light, including glimpses of scroll fragments and amazingly preserved textiles.
The newly discovered round wooden box looks almost fresh from the ancient lathe that would have made it. Inside were the 15 silver coins, as well as a piece of purple-dyed cloth and some wool stuffing. The dry desert climate, combined with the cave’s protected atmosphere, preserved these organic materials in excellent condition, the IAA’s Naama Sukenik, director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials, told The Times of Israel.
The inference that the box was left by someone fleeing home during the Maccabean Revolt is speculative, but plausible.
In any case, Operation Scroll has produced another discovery that is exciting in itself. The coins are great, but I am especially intrigued by the wooden box and the textiles inside. That box could just as well have held scrolls. Maybe next time.
For PaleoJudaica posts on tetradrachm (tetradrachma) coins, see here, here, and here.
Cross-file under Speluncic Archaeology.
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