Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Jerusalem National Park Hoard

In January 2009 a hoard of more than 250 gold coins was exposed in Jerusalem. The excavations were conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Giv‘ati car park in the City of David, in the walls around Jerusalem National Park.

A very large building was uncovered that dated to about the seventh century. The hoard of 264 coins was discovered among the ruins of the building.

According to directors of the excavation at the site on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “Since no pottery vessel was discovered adjacent to the hoard, we can assume that it was concealed inside a hidden niche in one of the walls of the building. It seems that with its collapse, the coins piled up there among the building debris.”
All of the coins bear the likeness of the emperor Heraclius (610-641 CE). Different coins were minted during this emperor’s reign; however, all of the coins that were discovered in the City of David in Jerusalem belong to one well-known type in which the likeness of the emperor wearing military garb and holding a cross in his right hand is depicted on the obverse, while the sign of the cross is on the reverse.

These coins were minted at the beginning of Heraclius’ reign (between the years 610-613 CE), one year before the Persians conquered Byzantine Jerusalem (614 CE).