Tiny Discovery Has Huge Implications For History Of The Holy Land, Study Says


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study published in the most recent issue of Israel Numismatic Research argues two coin weights found in the soil of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, suggest a church once sat upon the land, according to a press release by the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The Byzantine-era coin weights were uncovered and publicized by members of the Temple Mount Sifting Project (TMSP). The two artefacts are of the “very rare four keration denomination,” which translates to around 0.6g in today’s metrics, according to the TMSP press release. One of the weights is made of a purple glass, and is imprinted with an Imperial stamp that has been long-lost to history, the release continued. It’s thought this particular coin was likely made in Constantinople, the old Byzantine capital, and was brought to Jerusalem prior to the Muslim conquest, the release said.

The other is brass, and is also adorned with a Greek Kappa Delta marking in a silver inlay, according to the release. The research team behind the discoveries has found almost a dozen coin weights from the Temple Mount, all from the Byzantine-era, the release said.

A lack of publication surrounding the find may be down to the fact a Christian presence on the Temple Mount has not been a central theme of study at the Temple Mount and is frequently deemphasized by officials, The Times of Israel reported.

The Sifting Project has also “found a lot of fancy floor tiling from the Byzantine period, which was only used on monumental buildings. We also found pieces of chancel screens, which is an element of early church architecture, and lots of Byzantine-era mosaic stones, meaning that someone had invested a lot in flooring,” one of the study’s co-authors, Haim Shaham, told the outlet.

Many historians apparently assume the Temple Mount was a dump, but Shaham believes this could be a case of “history being written by the victors.” (RELATED: The Most Incredible Biblical Discoveries Of 2023)

“We have all this Byzantine material which shows that something was going on, but up until a decade ago, the consensus was that during the Byzantine period, the Temple Mount was desolate. But in actuality, a lot was going on during the Byzantine era, and from what we have found, it can be comfortably associated with a church,” he reportedly added.

More research is needed to officially understand the history of this part of Israel. And, to be honest, more work is needed to understand human history as a whole.