Team of UNC Charlotte archaeologists find rare coin in Jerusalem

A Roman gold coin depicting the Emperor Nero, dated to 56 CE was discovered in summer, 2016 at UNC Charlotte's archaeolgocial excavation at Jerusalem's Mt. Zion. Credit Shimon Gibson

A Team of archaeologists from UNC Charlotte have made a first-of-its-kind find.

The team found this rare Roman coin in Jerusalem with the image of the Roman Emperor Nero on Mount Zion.

It dates back about 1900 years, but that's not even the most impressive part.

The team says the discovery is the first time a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig.

"The coin is exceptional," said archaeologist Dr. Shimon Gibson, "because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig. Coins of this type are usually only found in private collections, where we don't have clear evidence as to place of origin."

It was found earlier this summer near villas that may have been the homes of wealthy Jewish residents of the time.

The gold coin (aureus) bears the bare-headed portrait of the young Nero as Caesar. The lettering around the edge of the coin reads: NERO CAESAR AVG IMP. On the reverse of the coin is a depiction of an oak wreath containing the letters "EX S C," with the surrounding inscription "PONTIF MAX TR P III." Importantly, these inscriptions help to work out the date when the coin was struck as 56/57 AD. Identification of the coin was made by the historian and numismatist, Dr. David Jacobson from London.
Archaeologist say they also found the rooms of a large mansion and even a ritual pool.