Byzantine Riches

November/December 2013

Temple Mount Byzantine Gold


In the ruins of a seventh-century A.D. building at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Eilat Mazar has discovered a stunning collection of artifacts. The 36 coins, dating from between the middle of the fourth to the early seventh century A.D., along with gold and silver jewels and a remarkable gold medallion, were once wrapped inside two small fabric bundles, small remnants of which Mazar also found. The medallion depicts a menorah, Torah scroll, and a shofar, a musical instrument usually made of a ram’s horn that is used in Jewish rituals. Found in a hole in the floor, the medallion once hung from a gold chain and was uncovered with a smaller gold medallion, two pendants, a gold coil, and a silver clasp, all of which may have been ornamentations for a Torah scroll.