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Nili Ahipaz


M.A. thesis topic: The Custom of Concealing Coins in Synagogue Foundations in the Byzantine period in Israel-The Synagogue at Dir 'Aziz as a Test Case.

Advisor: Dr. Uzi Leibner


Many ancient synagogues were excavated in Israel. In ten of them a very large number of coins were found in the foundations under the floor. These coins are generally small and of low value. It seems the coins were purposefully deposited in the foundations. The synagogue in Dir 'Aziz was excavated in 1998-2004. During the dig 2671 coins were unearthed, 2604 of them were found under the floor. Most of the coins are dated to the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries CE. A similar custom has been identified in other buildings in antiquity such as temples and private dwellings. The research is aimed to analyze the phenomenon of deliberate deposition of coins in foundations in the various types of buildings. This will help determining the geographical, chronological and ethnic scope of this phenomenon. The research will also compare the foundation-deposit custom with the practice of throwing coins into water sources.

Numismatic expertise for archaeological excavations from academic institutions in Israel

  • Herodium (Prof. E. Netzer
  • Cypros (Prof. E. Netzer)
  • Dir 'Aziz (Dr. H. Ben Daviv)
  • The Twins Cave (Dr. B. Zisso)
  • H. Jomjom (E. Mair)