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Cache of Ancient Silver Coins Found in Israel (Photos)

Hasmonean estate house

Hasmonean estate house

(Image credit: Griffin Aerial Photography, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Aerial photograph of the agricultural estate house in Modi'in, Israel, dating back to the Hasmonean period — 140 BCE to 116 BCE — where the hidden collection of coins was found.

[Read the full story about the discovery of this ancient coin cache.]

Cache of coins

Cache of silver coins

(Image credit: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

The cache of silver coins was discovered concealed in a rocky niche in a wall of the ancient estate house, in Modi'in, Israel.

A handful of silver

Cache of silver coins

(Image credit: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Archaeologists found 16 silver coins in a hidden cache. They date back to 126 BCE and were stamped with images of King Antiochus VII and his brother, Demetrius II.

Uncovering the hoard

Retrieving the rocks

(Image credit: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Shahar Krispin, during the discovery of the silver coin hoard.

Retrieving the coins

Retrieving the rocks

(Image credit: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin examines the cache of coins — concealed for more than 2,000 years — which included shekels and half-shekels (tetradrachms and didrachms).

[Read the full story about the discovery of this ancient coin cache.]

King Antiochus VII

A coin of Antiochus VII

(Image credit: Clara Amit)

A coin of Antiochus VII, and the rest of the coins that were discovered in the hidden cache, which archaeologists say were likely minted in Tyre, a Phoenician port city.

A chalk cup from the time of the Second Temple period

Chalk cup from the time of the Second Temple period

(Image credit: Avraham Tendler)

IAA archaeologist Jenny Marcus holds a chalk cup from the time of the Second Temple — 530 BCE to 70 BCE — which was unearthed in the estate house. According to Jewish law, vessels made of chalk cannot become ritually unclean.

A place to hide

a hiding refuge

(Image credit: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.)

Abraham Tendler, the excavation director, inside a hiding refuge that was connected to a ritual bath known as a (miqwe), during the Bar Kokhba uprising (132 CE to 136 CE).

[Read the full story about the discovery of this ancient coin cache.]

Mindy Weisberger
Mindy Weisberger is a senior writer for Live Science covering general science topics, especially those relating to brains, bodies, and behaviors in humans and other animals — living and extinct. Mindy studied filmmaking at Columbia University; her videos about dinosaurs, biodiversity, human origins, evolution, and astrophysics appear in the American Museum of Natural History, on YouTube, and in museums and science centers worldwide. Follow Mindy on Twitter.