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Archaeological Discoveries: Coin of Jesus Found in Ancient Tiberias Excavation

(November 2004)

An unusual and important find was discovered at the archaeological excavation of Ancient Tiberias being carried out at a site on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

To their great surprise, a group of young people who were participating in the dig discovered a rare coin. On the front of the coin can be seen a somewhat blurred image of Jesus, while on the back, the words in Greek “Jesus the Messiah King of Kings” are engraved very clearly. This coin is one of a series of coins that were issued in Constantinople (present day Istanbul) in celebration of the First Millennium of Jesus' birth.

It is not uncommon to find this coin in neighboring countries of Israel, such as Turkey, but this is the first time that it has ever been discovered at an Israeli archaeological site.

Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld, Director of this excavation, which is sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Brown University, in association with the City of Tiberias and the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains that this coin was brought to Tiberias by Christian pilgrims. Tiberias and the other sites around the Sea of Galilee were the desired destination of Christian pilgrims during the time of Muslim rule in Israel from the 7th to 11th centuries CE.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs