Silver half-shekel coin with tripe-pomegranate cluster motive

Giving our Half-Shekel

It's that time of year for giving the traditional charity reminiscent of the half-shekel donation to the Temple. Here's a little calculation of how serious that seemingly simple donation actually was! And some ideas for how to make your own half-shekel donation meaningful.
, ,

Find and Finder of the Month: Ivory Legs Found by Lev Simcha Levi

It has been quite challenging over the past year to keep posting a Find of the Month article each on a consistent basis, considering the slow pace of the sifting  due to the numerous lockdowns and Covid-19 regulations and restrictions.…

Portfolio Items


50 Gr Weight of the State of Israel (20th Cent. CE)

A 50 gr weight of the State of Israel. The bottom of the weight exhibits scratch marks, above which was stamped an official seal — a set of scales and the year ’53. Scratch marks such as these were regularly applied in order to reduce the weight of overweight weights. The scratch marks are directly beneath the seal, and may have been placed there by the weights inspector who proceeded to stamp the weight.

100 Gr Weight of the State of Israel (20th Cent. CE)

A 100 gr weight of the State of Israel. Two small plaques are affixed at the bottom to correct the weight, one of them stamped with an official seal used from the 1970’s onward — a set of scales and the letter Yud within a star of David.

Broken Arabic Glass Weight (Late Islamic)

A broken glass weight of the Late Islamic period with remnants of Arabic inscription, original weight probably 1 Dinar.

1 Dirham Weight (10th – 11th Cent. CE)

A square bronze 1 Dirham weight, with Arabic inscription and tapered edges. Used for weighing silver Dirham coins. Hundreds of similar weights of the Fatimid era (10th–11th century CE) were discovered in Caesarea.

Imperial Byzantine Glass Weight (Early 8th Cent. CE)

An “Imperial” glass weight of the Byzantine Period, used for weighing gold coins. Imprinted with a trio of saints and the cross shaped monogram of Theodosius III, of the early 8th century CE. Both the quality of the glass as well as the impression are strikingly similar to weights produced in European workshops and hence are likely of that origin.

Kerátion Weight (6th Cent. CE)

A Byzantine Period bronze weight with a silver inlay Kerátion (English: carat; Latin: siliqua), for the weighing of silver coins. The Lettering KA may denote one Kerátion, and it indeed matches the weight of a Justinian II Siliqua coin of the 6th century CE.

Byzantine Numsima Bronze Weight (4th – 6th Cent. CE)

A Byzantine Period Numisma bronze weight for the weighing of gold coins. (4th–6th cent. CE).

Half of a Limestone Maneh Weight (late 4th cent. BCE – 70 CE)

Half of a flat cylindrical limestone weight. Second Temple Period. Based on the weight and size of the object, the complete weight would’ve had a weight similar to Maneh weights found in the vicinity of the Old City. The sifting has also unearthed disc-shaped lead weights, weighing ⅛ maneh belonging to the Hellenistic Period (3rd-2nd cent. BCE).

Judaean 4 Gera Weight (10th-6th cent. BCE)

A Judean 4 Gera (⅙ Shekel) weight from the First Temple Period. Limestone etched with four parallel lines. The complete stone weighs 2.48 grams, about 15% heavier than comparable Judean weights.

Judean 4 Shekel Weight (8th-6th Cent. BCE)

A Judean 4 Shekel weight. Limestone with a lead insert. Late 8th – Early 6th century BCE, 1st Temple Period. The lead insert is clearly visible, indicating it was probably used to fix an underweight stone, rather than for creating an overweight counterfeit. The stone is dome- shaped and marked on one side with four lines, an unusal way to denote its weight, as most weighing stones of the time were marked with Egyptian hieratic numerals.