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Re: orion-list Qumran coins
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Steven Fine asked:
> Hi all! I saw the Scrolls show in Chicago the other day. It is really
> beautiful. Innoticed in the coin display a large number of Tyrian Shekels.
> Does anyone know where I might find a catalog/list/inventory of the Qumran
> Thanks, Steve
There is no single complete catalog of the Qumran coins. The exhibit at the
Field museum has a selection of 24 coins, including Seleucid tetradrachms,
Tyrian shekels and half shekels, and possibly Roman denarii (I didn't notice
any when I viewed the exhibit, but the coins were displayed in sort of a pile
and I might have missed them--caption 16, p. 90, in the catalog doesn't
mention them, but two are shown in the illustration on p. 91). These are
from the hoard of 561 silver coins, in three vessels, excavated by Pere de
Vaux in 1955, and are on loan from the collections of the Israel Antiquities
This hoard was divided between Israel and Jordan. The 153 coins curated by
the IAA were published by Marcia Sharabani, "Monnaies de Qumran au Musee
Rockefeller de Jerusalem," in Revue Biblique, Vol 87, pp. 274-286 (1980). Of
the 408 coins transferred to Amman, 353 (?) were published by Dr. Aida S.
Arif, A Treasury of Classical and Islamic Coins, The Collection of Amman
Museum, London, 1986. This book is a bit difficult to follow and I don't
have the actual book, just photocopies of what are claimed to be the relevant
pages: 15-21 and 192-205. The coins are catalogued in groups with no running
total and are illustrated by photographs of each whole tray. The last tray
includes three obvious strays. King Hussein gave three coins from the hoard
to President Nixon on April 3 (8?), 1969, and they are on display in the
Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California; all appear to be half shekels.
They were written up in Coin World, Nov. 8, 1993, p. 58. Including these
three, over 50 coins are still unaccounted for, but the IAA has a complete
list of the hoard made in the 1950's.
Aside from this hoard of silver coins, there were many single finds. De Vaux
mentions them throughout L'Archeologie et les Manuscrits de la Mer Morte, and
they were published (in summary form) in Roland de Vaux, Die Ausgrabungen von
Qumran und En Feschcha, IA, Die Grabungstagebücher, Göttingen, 1996,
Universitätsverlag Freiburg, Switzerland, Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus
Series Archeologica 1A, edited by Ferdinand Rohrhirsch and Bettina Hofmeir.
In reviewing this fine book for The Qumran Chronicle (Vol. 7, No. 3/4, Dec.
1997, pp. 225-234), I was astonished to discover many unexplained
discrepancies between the two publications, which have a bearing on the
dating of the site.
Robert D. Leonard Jr.
For private reply, e-mail to RLWinnetka@aol.com
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