In 1955, three intact ceramic vessels containing a total of 561 silver coins were found under a doorway at the Qumran excavation site. The vessels were filled to the brim with coins and their mouths were covered with palm-fiber stoppers. Two out of three of the hoard vessels are of a type otherwise unknown at Qumran. New members of the sect may have had to surrender their worldly goods to the treasurer of the community. The vessels and their contents then, would constitute the deposit of one or a number of new adherents. On the other hand it should be noted that depositing coins at a building's foundation, often under doorways, was a common practice in antiquity.

The Qumran Hoard of Silver Coins

24 silver coins. Between 136/135 and 10/9 B.C.E.

Pere Roland de Vaux, a mid twentieth-century excavator of Qumran, relied heavily on coin evidence for his dating and interpretations of the various strata of the site. The early coins in the hoard were minted in Tyre and included tetradrachms of Antiochus VII Sidetes and Demetrius II Nicator (136/135 - 127/126 B.C.E.), as well as six Roman Republican denarii from the mid-first century B.C.E. The bulk of the hoard represents the autonomous continuation of the Seleucid mint: the well-known series of Tyrian shekalim and half-shekalim, minted from 126/125 B.C.E. onward. These are the same coins that were prescribed in the Temple for the poll tax and other payments (Tosefta. Ketubot 13, 20).

Q2;Q3;Q5;Q6;Q8;Q19;Q20;Q21;Q27;Q32;Q65;Q79;Q84;Q87;Q118;Q121;Q122; Q125;Q127;Q131;Q133;Q138;Q143;Q153

Diameter 3/4 - 1 1/8 in.

Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Meshorer, Y. Ancient Jewish Coinage. Dix Hills, N.Y., 1982.

Sharabani, M. Monnais de Qumran au Musee Rockefeller de Jerusalem Revue Biblique 87 (1980): 274-84.