• Israfan
  • Posts
  • Coins Uncovered in Lod Reveal Evidence of Last Jewish Revolt

Coins Uncovered in Lod Reveal Evidence of Last Jewish Revolt

Discovery sheds light on the Gallus Revolt against Roman rule.

In a remarkable discovery, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Lod Municipality have uncovered evidence of the last Jewish revolt against Roman rule, dating back 1,650 years. This significant find was made during excavations of a destroyed Jewish public building on Nordau Street in Lod.

Experts believe these coins, dating from 221 to 354 CE, provide the first-ever evidence in Lod of the Gallus Revolt, the last Jewish resistance against Roman rule between 351 and 354 CE. The excavation revealed a building from the late Roman-early Byzantine period that had suffered violent destruction. It is presumed the coins were deliberately placed there by their owner, hoping to retrieve them once the situation stabilized.

The Gallus Revolt is sparsely documented in historical texts, but it is known that Roman Caesar Flavius Constantinus Gallus led the forces that destroyed significant Jewish communities, including Lod, Zipori, and Tiberias. The findings in Lod include impressive stone and marble artifacts, as well as inscriptions in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. One inscription, bearing the name of a Jewish man from a priestly family, is still under examination.

The absence of pig bones in the site's bone assemblage further attests to the building’s Jewish association. IAA site excavators Shahar Krispin and Mor Viezel suggest that the building, likely a magnificent Jewish structure housing the city’s elders, was destroyed violently, indicating the revolt's significant impact.

Lod was a major Jewish center after the Second Temple's destruction in Jerusalem, with renowned sages such as Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanos, Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Yosi Ha’Galili associated with the city. The building's destruction underscores the revolt's forceful suppression and highlights Lod's central role in Jewish life during the Mishna and Talmud periods.

IAA council head Prof. Joshua Schwartz remarked on the building's potential functions, which could have included serving as a synagogue, study hall, or meeting hall for the elders. The size, coin hoard, and archaeological finds align with descriptions of Lod as a center of Jewish life in historical texts.

IAA director Eli Escuzido emphasized the importance of investigating and conserving Lod’s history. The city's new exhibition center featuring the beautiful Lod mosaic will also bring awareness to this newly uncovered building.

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo expressed excitement over the discovery, calling it a significant link in Lod’s Tannaitic period heritage. He believes the site will attract many tourists, connecting Lod's past to its bright future.

The findings will be presented at the Central Israel Region Archaeological Conference at Tel Aviv’s Eretz Yisrael Museum on June 20. The event, hosted by Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, and the IAA, is open to the public at no charge. More details are available on the Israel Antiquities Authority website.

Share this story and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed and connected.