Rare coin from 2nd Temple period discovered in Jerusalem’s Tower of David

The Tyre Coin discovered in Old Jerusalem.
The Tyre Coin discovered in Old Jerusalem. | Tal Rogovski

Archeologists in Jerusalem’s Old City have discovered a box containing artifacts including a rare silver “Tyre Coin,” which, they believe, might have been used by pilgrims to pay the Temple tax during the reign of King Herod.

The coin has the image of Melqart, the chief god of the Phoenician city of Tyre, imprinted on one side, and that of an eagle on the other, according to The Times of Israel, which said the box holding the coin was originally found during an excavation in the 1980s.

The box, which was lost, was discovered recently as part of a conservation project at the Tower of David Museum, The Jerusalem Post reported.

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The “Tyre shekel,” very few of which have been found thus far, was used during the Second Temple Period and produced in the ancient city of Tyre from 125 BCE until the outbreak of the Great Revolt in 66 CE.

“We know from the Gospels that Jesus visited Jerusalem ... and we know that He talked to the money changers. So here we have the evidence, the archaeological evidence to the historical sources,” Eilat Lieber, the director of the museum, told CBN News.

The Tower of David complex includes Herod’s palace where the trial of Jesus took place, according to the Bible.

“The Tower of David is one of the most important structures in Israel, both in terms of its history and location,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Yotam Carmel, conservation manager at Ken HaTor, the company put in charge of the project, as saying. “The last conservation project at the Tower of David was carried out in the 1980s. Since then, the citadel has been in desperate need of conservation.”

It connects the ages, Lieber was quoted as saying.

“You can see how the past, the present, and the future are actually here at the Tower of David. During the work for the future of the citadel, we found the evidence from the past. And we can actually, know more about our identity. Christians can see how the sources, the Gospels are coming alive here in Jerusalem. …  All we want is to bring Jerusalem to the world, the story of Jerusalem, the rich history of all of us, Jewish people, Christians from all over the world.”

The rare coin will be displayed in a new and permanent exhibit at the museum, which is scheduled to reopen next year.

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