(Photo: Temple Mount Sifting Project)

(Photo: Temple Mount Sifting Project)

By Amanda Borschel-Dan - May 24, 2018

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

Three extremely rare Jewish-minted coins dating from the 4th century BCE were recently discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project, doubling the number unearthed in ancient Jerusalem to date. These coins are among the earliest testaments to Jewish minting in the Land of Israel.

But they’re easy to miss: The coins are only 7 millimeters in diameter and of an almost negligible weight. Made of silver, their design is based on the Athenian Obol and utilize its barn owl motif, representing the goddess Athena. However, instead of the Greek letters ΑΘΕ for Athens, they bear an inscription in ancient Hebrew — “yhd” or Judah.

The Sifting Project has uncovered over 6,000 ancient coins during its systematic meticulous study of thousands of tons of Temple Mount earth haphazardly discarded during unauthorized renovations of a subterranean mosque in the late 1990s. Read More