Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/10/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Coins, jewelry described as 'a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime discovery'

Thirty-six gold coins, gold and silver jewelry and a gold medallion with a Temple candelabrum symbol etched into it was discovered at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. These unique treasures were uncovered during excavations this summer.

It's believed that the menorah medallion is most likely an ornament for a Torah scroll. If this is correct, it is the earliest Torah scroll ornament found in archaeological excavations to date

It's believed that the menorah medallion is most likely an ornament for a Torah scroll. If this is correct, it is the earliest Torah scroll ornament found in archaeological excavations to date

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/10/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Jerusalem, Menorah, Persians, gold, silver, archaeology


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The find was declared "a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime discovery," by Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. "We have been making significant finds from the First Temple Period in this area, a much earlier time in Jerusalem's history, so discovering a golden seven-branched Menorah from the seventh century CE at the foot of the Temple Mount was a complete surprise."

A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, Mazar directs excavations on the City of David's summit and at the Temple Mount's southern wall, the Ophel area.

Unearthed just five days into Mazar's latest phase of the Ophel excavations, the items can be dated to the late Byzantine period, which was the early seventh century. The gold treasure was discovered in a ruined Byzantine public structure, a short 164 feet from the Temple Mount's southern wall.

The menorah, a candelabrum with seven branches that was used in the Temple is the national symbol of the State of Israel. The object reflects the historical presence of Jews in the area. One bundle was carefully hidden underground, while the second bundle was apparently abandoned in haste and scattered across the floor. Researchers say the position of the items as they were found indicates this. Mazar estimates they were abandoned in the context of the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 CE.

"It would appear that the most likely explanation is that the Ophel cache was earmarked as a contribution toward the building of a new synagogue, at a location that is near the Temple Mount," Mazar says. "What is certain is that their mission, whatever it was, was unsuccessful. The treasure was abandoned, and its owners could never return to collect it."

Following the Persian victory over Jerusalem, many Jews returned to the city and formed the majority of its population, hoping for political and religious freedom. As Persian influence waned, instead of forming an alliance with the Jews, the Persians sought the support of Christians, eventually turning away the Jews from Jerusalem.

It's believed that the menorah medallion is most likely an ornament for a Torah scroll. If this is correct, it is the earliest Torah scroll ornament found in archaeological excavations to date. The item was buried in a small depression in the floor, along with a smaller gold medallion, two pendants, a gold coil and a silver clasp, all of which are believed to be Torah scroll ornamentations.

"The 36 gold coins can be dated to the reigns of different Byzantine emperors, ranging from the middle of the fourth century CE to the early seventh century CE," Lior Sandberg, numismatics specialist at the Institute of Archaeology says. The Ophel cache is the third collection of gold coins to be found in archaeological excavations in Jerusalem.

Watch Catholic Online's most viral videos here!


---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Middle East

AL-QAEDA ALIVE: 'We must eliminate the cross ... The bearer of the cross is America!' Watch

Image of  In the video, the nefarious

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is quite an extraordinary video," terrorist experts Paul Cruickshank says. There's another word for it: absolutely horrifying. In the video, the nefarious "crown prince" of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing a group of 100 like-minded ... continue reading


Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


New Saudi Arabian law defines atheists as 'terrorists' Watch

Image of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists. King Abdullah has issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison ... continue reading


Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries Watch

Image of The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 52:13--53:12
13 Look, my servant will prosper, will grow great, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 18:1--19:42
1 After he had said all this, Jesus left with his ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
14 Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 18th, 2014 Image

St. Apollonius the Apologist
April 18: Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter