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An ancient coin from around 40 BCE with the oldest known depiction of a Temple Menorah

Coin with Oldest Depiction of Temple Menorah Displayed for First Time

An ancient coin bearing the oldest-known depiction of the Temple menorah went on display to the public for the first time on Monday, March 13, with the opening of the recently renovated Davidson Center in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The coin dates to around 40 BCE, during Roman times and the reign of the last Hasmonean king. “This is the oldest known artistic depiction of the menorah, created 107 years before the destruction of the Second Temple,” says Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of archaeology and administration at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The coin was donated to Israel sometime during the 1940s, during the British Mandate period, and it’s unclear where or when it was found.

It’s part of an exhibit of rare artifacts that contain some of the earliest known references and research about the origin of the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabra that is also used as the symbol of the modern State of Israel.

Next to the coin is the Magdela Stone , which was discovered in the town of Migdal in 2009 and was likely a Torah reading table from a first-century synagogue. The intricately carved stone shows multiple menorahs as well as a possible depiction of the Jerusalem Temple.

The new visitor’s center will combine archaeological finds with interactive technology to help visitors experience what life was like during the First and Second Temple Periods. (TOI / VFI News)

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