A Hoard of Ptolemaic Coins found in Murabba'at Cave II in the Judean Desert

Eitan Klein, Gabriela Bijovsky, Amir Ganor, Hagay Hamer, Oriya Amichay, Chaim Cohen, Esther Eshel, Mark Cavanagh, Dafna Langgut, Eitan Kremer, Yigal Sitry, Naama Sukenik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Murabba‘at Cave II is situated in the cliffy area on the northern bank of Nahal Darga, about 2 km west of the Dead Sea. It is a complex cave formed by the dissolution of Shivta-Formation limestone below the water table. Its total length is approximately 90 m and it has three levels. Previous excavations have shown the cave to be one of the richest in the Judean Desert in terms of finds from various periods. Among the many finds was an ancient wooden box containing a Ptolemaic coin-hoard from the reign of Ptolemy VI, which was discovered in a crevice near a shaft leading down to the interior cavities. This article presents and discusses the hoard, a typical emergency hoard, with all its components, while considering its geographical-historical context. Several possible historical events may have led to the hoard’s deposition, mainly the Sixth Syrian War and the Maccabean Revolt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-92
Number of pages40
StatePublished - 2023


FundersFunder number
Artifact Treatment Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Ashkelon Academic College
Dafna Gazit
Shiri Ellenbogen
Israel Science Foundation1880/17, 1143/19
Tel Aviv University


    • Coins
    • Hoard
    • Ptolemy VI
    • Purse
    • Wood Pyxis

    IHP Publications

    • ihp
    • Coin hoards
    • Coins, Ancient
    • Eretz Israel -- Antiquities, Roman
    • Jews -- History -- 132-135, Bar Kokhba Rebellion
    • Judean Desert


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