Rare Roman Gold Coin Found at Mount Zion
The coin dates to a little more than a decade before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. and was found in rubble material outside the ruins of the first century Jewish villas the team has been excavating. The team has hypothesized that the large houses may have belonged to wealthy members of the priestly caste, and it may have come from one of their stores of wealth. “The coin probably came from one of the rich 2,000-year old Jewish dwellings which the UNC Charlotte team have been uncovering at the site,” said Gibson. “These belonged to the priestly and aristocratic quarter located in the Upper City of Jerusalem. Finds include the well-preserved rooms of a very large mansion, a Jewish ritual pool (mikveh) and a bathroom, both with their ceilings intact.”
The image of Nero is significant in that it shows the presence of the Roman occupation and provides a clear, late date for the occupation of the residences. There is no historical evidence that Nero ever visited Jerusalem. Tabor, UNC Charlotte professor of religious studies, pointed out that the coin is dated “to the same year of St. Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, which resulted in his arrest (on the charge of taking Gentiles into the Temple) and incarceration in Caesarea.”
The Mount Zion archaeological project has brought to light many other significant finds during the 2016 summer season, and work at the site will be resumed next year.