This coin probably was not worth very much when it was minted three millennia ago, but it’s priceless to contemporary historians and archaeologists.
Discovered last year at a cave near Kibbutz Lahav in southern Israel, it is a product of Egyptians who ran an administrative center there about 3,400 years ago, when Canaan was ruled by Egypt; it recently went on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
The coin, in the hand of a member of the Israel Antiquities Authority, bears the image of a scarab, a venerated symbol in ancient Egypt that was often used for official seals. It was part of a cache, including pottery vessels, oil lamps, pieces of jewelry, shells, seals and amulets that depict Egyptian gods, which archeologists found during excavations. They also found evidence that the site had been vandalized by robbers at a time that they did not specify.
Some of the objects were made in Egypt and were brought to ancient Canaan by Israelites or merchants, Amir Ganor, director of the Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit, told the Jerusalem Post.
“The investigation of the cave and the finds is still in its early stages,” Amir Golani, IAA senior excavating and research archaeologist, said, “and upon completing the treatment of the hundreds of objects that were exposed, it will be possible to add important information regarding Egypt’s influence on the population of the Land of Israel in the biblical period.”