Monday, July 05, 2010

Gold Roman Coin Found Near Sea of Galilee

Excavators at et-Tell (Bethsaida?) have found a gold coin from the 2nd century AD.  From the Omaha World-Herald:

The coin, which weighs 7 grams, is 97.6 percent gold, Arav said.

The find was unexpected because Bethsaida primarily was home to humble fishermen, he said. Arav said somebody must have been doing good business a little more than 100 years after the birth of Christ.

The gold coin, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, carries the image of Antoninus Pius, the 15th Roman emperor, who reigned between A.D. 138 and 161.

“Before newspapers, coins fulfilled the job of disseminating information. In our case, Antoninus wanted to announce that the Senate designated him to the position of a consul for the second time. This position was among the highest at Rome.”

The Bethsaida coin is the first Antoninus Pius gold coin excavated in Israel, Arav said, and as far as he knows, it's the first discovery of this particular kind of coin.

The full story is here.

HT: Paleojudaica

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