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Hanukkah surprise: the Ancient coin found in Jerusalem, the Tower of David

The ancient coin found in Jerusalem, the Tower of David (Tower of David Museum).

An ancient coin from the time of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, which is provided in the Chanukah story, has been discovered in Jerusalem the Tower of David.

The Tower of David is a medieval citadel located in the neighborhood of the Old City of Jerusalem, from Jaffa Gate. The citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is built on the remains of an old fortress.

The amazing find was made during routine conservation work at the Tower of the archaeological garden, according to a statement from the Tower of David Museum. Orna Cohen, the Tower of David’s chief conservation officer, saw a metallic object flash below the stones of a wall.

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On close inspection, the archaeologist realized that the coin was a bronze-leaf penny, which was used in Jerusalem during the reign of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century bc.


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The Tower of David Museum.

(www.Naftali-Hilger.com/The Tower of David Museum)

A portrait of Antiochus’ head is engraved on one side of the coin. A goddess appears wrapped in a scarf is on the other side of the coin.

A Greek king of the Seleucid Empire that spanned much of the ancient Middle-East, Antiochus’ persecution of the Jews of Judea and Samaria, led to the Jewish Maccabees revolt between 167 and 160 B. C.

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The Maccabees were victorious over the Seleucid and took Jerusalem in the Temple. The victory and the miracle of a menorah that burned for eight days with one day’s worth of oil, according to Jewish tradition, are marked with the feast of Hanukkah.

The coin is found in the neighbourhood of walls that cut through the center of the citadel courtyard next to a tower base built in the time of Yonaton and Shimon, brothers of Judah the Maccabee, who led the Maccabees revolt. The stones of the old rocket launchers, called ballista, as well as iron arrowheads, found during excavations at the Tower of David.

It is difficult to provide an exact date for the currency, to the Tower of David Museum, but it is known that the coins were minted in the city of akko. The coin was dated to somewhere between 172 168 B. C.

This year the Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins on the evening of Dec. 24, and ends on the evening of Jan. 1 2017.

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