Archaeologists have found a cylindrical wooden box containing a hoard of coins made by Ptolemy VI, King of Egypt, in Israel.
The coins were found in a cave in the Wadi Murabba’at valley, which is created by a seasonal stream that originates in the Judean desert east of Bethlehem and flows past the Herodium and down to the Dead Sea.
The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Archaeology Department of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria conducted excavations in conjunction with the Ministry for Jerusalem and Heritage.
Around 2,200 years ago, the box was filled with tiny stones and an upper layer of dirt. Coins that were placed in sheep’s wool were covered underneath by a piece of purple woollen cloth.
Ptolemy VI Coins Treasure
The treasure is made up of 15 tetradrachma coins, the majority of which were produced by Ptolemy VI Philometor, a Greek monarch of Ptolemaic Egypt who ruled between 180 and 164 BC and 163 to 145 BC. Ptolemy VI, the eldest child of King Ptolemy V and Queen Cleopatra I, ruled during a period of internal strife with his younger brother over control of the Ptolemaic kingdom as well as external conflict with the Seleucid Empire over Syria.
The last coin discovered in the trove was produced in 170 BC, at the height of the Maccabean Revolt, which the Maccabees conducted against the Seleucid Empire and the Hellenistic influence on Jewish society. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (“the Wicked”), the Seleucid King at the time, initiated a widespread campaign of persecution against the Jewish faith, sparking a rebellion.
Due to internal unrest within the Seleucid empire, the Maccabees were able to push the Greeks out of their fortress in Jerusalem. Later, they would work with the Roman Republic to establish a Hasmonean kingdom that was independent.
You may also like: Stonehenge 4000-Year-Old Gold Working Kit Identified