Long Table 75. Coin Deposits in Ancient Synagogues in Late Antique Palestine

December 10, 2021
1:00 pm ET

During archaeological excavations over the last century, thousands of coins have been found under the floors of ancient synagogue buildings from Late Antique Palestine and the Diaspora. Join archeologist and ANS Summer Seminar alumna Tine Rasselle for an examination of these coins. The specific reason for why they were placed there is hard to decipher, as textual sources about the phenomenon are lacking. However, based on careful research of Jewish attitudes concerning magic and apotropaic devices in Late Antiquity, and a historical analysis of tithing habits after the Second Temple destruction, Dr. Rasselle make the case that the coins were symbolic tithes, taken out of economic circulation and set aside as sacred. Then, they were added to the synagogue building during its construction as a way of giving back to God what belongs to God, simultaneously blessing the building and its visitors, and protecting the building against natural or supernatural harm.

ANS Members only. A link will be sent to members the day of the event.