JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists believe the stash of gold and silver coins and jewelry discovered during a pre-construction excavation were likely hidden at the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt some two millennia ago.
The IAA team came across the treasure trove, wrapped in fabric, in a hole in the courtyard of the Roman/Byzantine-era building they were excavating, which had been dug and refilled.
"The magnificent hoard includes gold jewelry, among them an earring crafted by a jeweler in the shape of a flower and a ring with a precious stone on which there is a seal of a winged-goddess, two sticks of silver that were probably kohl sticks, as well as some 140 gold and silver coins," Emil Aladjem, director of the excavation, said.
"The coins that were discovered date to the reigns of the Roman emperors Nero, Nerva and Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire from 54-117 CE," Aladjem said.
"The coins are adorned with the images of the emperors and on their reverse are cultic portrayals of the emperor, symbols of the brotherhood of warriors and mythological gods such as Jupiter seated on a throne or Jupiter grasping a lightning bolt in his hand," he said.
IAA director of Ashkelon and the Western Negev regions Sa'ar Ganor said the artifacts' composition and quality "are consistent with treasure troves previously attributed to the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt."
Ganor said the coins were "probably an emergency cache that was concealed at the time of impending danger by a wealthy woman who wrapped her jewelry and money in a cloth and hid them deep in the ground prior or during the Bar Kokhba revolt."
"It is now clear the owner of the hoard never returned to claim it," Ganor added.