“Extremely rare” 1,850-year-old bronze coin found in waters off Israel’s coast

Israeli archaeologists on Tuesday unearthed a rare and “remarkably well-preserved” Roman-era bronze coin, dating back 1,850 years, depicting the moon goddess Luna, the first such discovery in Israeli waters. Is.

Coins featuring the Tropic of Cancer below the Luna in Alexandria in present-day Egypt and the Roman emperor of the era, Antoninus Pius, were discovered by archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority during an exploration of Haifa in northern Israel.

On the seashore near the Carmel coast, a rare, spectacular 1,850-year-old bronze coin depicting the Roman moon goddess Luna …

Monday, July 25, 2022. Posted by Israel Antiquities Authority

It is dated “Year Eight”, referring to the eighth year of the reign of Antoninus Pius, which lasted from 138 to 161, part of an era known as the Pax Romana, when there was relative peace throughout the Roman Empire.

The coin is part of a series of 13 – specimens of which have been discovered elsewhere in the world – depicting the 12 signs of the zodiac and the other the full zodiac, the IAA said.

“This is the first time such a coin has been discovered off the coast of Israel,” Jacob Sharvit, head of the IAA’s maritime archeology unit, said in a statement.

“These discoveries, which were lost at sea and disappeared from sight for hundreds and thousands of years, are remarkably well-preserved; some are extremely rare and their discoveries complete parts of the historical puzzle of the country’s past.” does,” he said.

Sharvit told AFP that the piece of Luna was found among “small billboards” of other coins and the circumstances of the discovery indicated that there was a wreck nearby.

Last year, Israeli researchers demonstrated 3rd-century Roman coins and a Roman-era gold ring with a gemstone bearing an early Christian symbol for Jesus, found in a shipwreck from the ancient port of Caesarea.

IAA General Director Eli Escocido said in a statement Monday that over the past decade, “Israel has changed its perception of the ocean.”

“Instead of merely defining the country’s border, the sea is now considered an integral part of our cultural heritage,” Escocido said. “Marine surveys around Haifa are part of this process, and the rare coin recovered is a vivid reminder of its cultural importance.”

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