Ancient coins before cleaning.

When ancient coins are found in archaeological digs, it is usually impossible to identify their design elements or inscriptions, due to the accumulation over time of corrosion or encrustation. Therefore, these coins must be sent to a restoration lab where they are carefully cleaned of the material that has built up on their surfaces over the years, in the hope that the original features of the coins will become discernible. This process is carried out under a microscope, using precision instruments, and can take anywhere from 15 minute to a whole day depending on the amount of encrustation and the condition of the underlying coin.

First batch of coins sent to conservation lab for cleaning

In one of the lectures delivered during the Sifting Project’s recent Jerusalem Day online symposium, it was mentioned that, of the 7000 coins found in the Temple Mount soil, there are about 3000 coins which have yet to be cleaned, due to a lack of resources. One of the symposium participants asked whether it was possible to make targeted donations to fund the cleaning of these awaiting coins. In response, we have inaugurated a special “Adopt a Coin” campaign on our website. The donor can choose to adopt either one or more coins, and will cover the cost of the cleaning, the restoration and the analysis of the coin/s by a specialist in numismatics (the study of ancient coins). The donor will be recognized as the sponsor of the coin/s and receive ongoing updates regarding the status of his coin/s cleaning, restoration and research.

This campaign has already drawn great interest from among our supporters, and last week we sent the first batch of 27 coins to a professional restorer who specializes in metals. Each of the coins was assigned to an individual sponsor, who is entitled to receive updates about its cleaning and its final identification (the deciphering of its inscription and design). If the coin turns out to be a rare find, the sponsor’s name will also be included when the coin is publicized.

Do you also want to adopt a coin? will you fund the discovery of our next Eighth Shekel depicting the Four Species of Sukkot? Just go to our crowd funding site and choose how many coins you’d like to sponsor!

A bronze Eighth Shekel, minted in Jerusalem during the fourth year of the Great Revolt (69/70 CE). Obverse: Chalice surrounded by the Hebrew legend “For the redemption of Zion”. Reverse: A bundle lulav (palm branch) between two etrogim (citrons), surrounded by the Hebrew legend “Year four”.

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