Coins from Jewish revolt calling for ‘Freedom of Zion’ found just before Passover

Bronze coins dating from the time of the Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire and bearing the words “Freedom” and “Redemption” were found in an archeological dig excavated by Dr. Eilat Mazor near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, shortly before Passover, a Jewish holiday that is characterized by its celebration of exactly those values. The 1.5 centimeter diameter bronze coins were discovered during excavations below the Temple Mount’s southern wall in an area known as the Ophel. While several of the coins date to the early years of the revolt, the great majority are from its final year, known as “Year Four” (69-70 CE).

Archeologists believe that the coins were left behind by Jewish residents who had hidden in a large cave for four years during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, up until the destruction of the Second Temple and the city of Jerusalem. According to archeologists, coins minted early in the revolt bear the inscription “For the Freedom of Zion” but those minted in the final year bear the inscription “For the Redemption of Zion.” denoting the shift in the mood of the rebels during the period of horror and famine.

Photo credit: Dr. Eilat Mazar