Rare Coin From 2,000-Year-Old Jewish Revolt Against Romans Discovered In Judean Desert

A rare coin dating back 2,000 years to a Jewish revolt against the Romans has been discovered in the Judaean desert bearing the inscription “Year one of the redemption of Israel”.

It had apparently fallen from a previously excavated cave near the Dead Sea in Israel, where Jewish rebels had been hiding from the Romans during the Bar Kochba Revolt (132 to 136 AD) led by Jewish military leader Simon bar Kokhba.

Newsflash obtained a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) saying that the rare coin from the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt is engraved with the name of “Eleazar the Priest”. In ancient Hebrew script on one side and “Year One of the Redemption of Israel” on the other side.

The coin was reportedly found a few weeks ago, some 20 years after the cave was originally excavated.

The statement said: “The coin found in the Mazuq Ha-he’teqim Nature Reserve, in the course of the Judean Desert Cave Survey carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and the Archaeological Office for the Military Administration of Judea and Samaria.”

“Three additional Revolt coins bearing the name Simeon, found together with the coin.”

Photo shows Elazar HaCohen coin, undated. The coin dating back nearly two millennia discovered in the Judean Desert. (Emil Eljam, Israel Antiquities Authority/Newsflash)

The footage shows the first coin and the other three being handled by exxperts.

They dated the first coin “to the first year of the revolt (132 CE)”, and was discovered during excavations geared towards “retrieving the ancient treasures before they are stolen by antiquity looters.”

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The IAA said: “There are a few possibilities regarding the identity of Eleazar the Priest, whose name appears on the coin. One is Rabbi Eleazar Hamod‘ai. A Tannaic Rabbi from the time of Rabbi Akiva, a pupil of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai.

“It seems that Rabbi Eleazar Hamod‘ai played a significant religious role at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. And he was living in the town of Beitar— the location of the revolt headquarters. The Talmud accounts that he died in Beitar, probably during the Revolt. (Jerusalem Talmud Ta‘anit 4:5).

“On the obverse face of the coin, a date palm is engraved. With the inscription ‘Eleazar the Priest’ inscribed in ancient Hebrew script. On the reverse, a bunch of grapes is surrounded by the text ‘Year One of the Redemption of Israel’, again in ancient Hebrew script.”

Photo shows Elazar HaCohen coin, undated. The coin dating back nearly two millennia. Discovered in the Judean Desert. (Emil Eljam, Israel Antiquities Authority/Newsflash)

The IAA invited members of the public to sign up to take part in further excavations in the Judean Desert.

The Bar Kochba Revolt was the third and final wave of the Jewish–Roman wars. Ending in total defeat for the Jewish side. Bar Kokhba killed by Roman forces in 135 and his followers enslaved or killed.