News Stories

Unearthed History

Published June 19, 2024 | 2 min read

By Sydney Stewart

On June 16, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a coin hoard of 94 specimens dated A.D. 221-354. An individual likely buried the coins during the Gallus Revolt (A.D. 351-354). The Gallus Revolt was the last stand of the Jewish people of Lod against the Roman Empire. Texts from Roman historians and Jewish sages report that the Jewish population in the Judea region rebelled against Roman rule due to religious persecution, unfair taxation, and cultural suppression. In response, Flavius Constantinus Gallus’s armies destroyed the Jewish communities of Lod, Zipori, and Tiber.

This is an exciting and very emotionally moving find, another link in the chain of Lod’s Tannaitic period heritage.

The stashed coins were minted just before or during the rebellion and do not show evidence of heavy use. This leads researchers to believe that the person who buried them likely set the coins aside as an emergency reserve to retrieve after the revolt settled down. Archaeologists found the coin hoard underneath one of the buildings leveled by the Roman army. The structure’s size, the artifacts found within, and the presence of the coin hoard point towards the building’s significance. It was likely a community hall, meeting hall, or synagogue. The coins’ discovery provides important economic and social context for the revolt. Their existence suggests that, despite the political upheaval of the time, commerce continued in Lod.

The Israel Antiquities Authority will present more information about the hoard and other archaeological discoveries at the Central Israel Region Archaeological Conference. The conference will take place at Eretz Yisrael Musuem in Tel Aviv on June 20. Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority will host the free conference. “This is an exciting and very emotionally moving find, another link in the chain of Lod’s Tannaitic period heritage as host to the authors of the Mishna, and to Lod’s Jewish history,” says Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lod. “Lod is connecting to its past and is looking forward to a bright future.”