Archaeologists on an Israeli-German dig south of Jerusalem have uncovered a cache of 15 silver coins dating back 2 000 years and lying in a pot hidden in a pigeon hole.
Describing the find as "exciting", Professor Manfred Oeming, co-director of the excavations at Ramat Rahel, said on Monday that "if you are lucky, you can find a treasure like this (only) every 20 years".
Professor Oded Lipschits, the head of the dig, believes the pot was hidden in a hurry, around the time the Romans destroyed the Biblical temple in 70 AD and the owner of the coins possibly intended to return for them.
Jews commemorated the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple - on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av - on Sunday.
The dig at Ramat Rahel is in its fourth season. The team at the site also found 380 coins from the Byzantine period, the fourth and fifth century AD.
Ramat Rahel is located about halfway between Jerusalem's Old City and Bethlehem, on the border between modern Israel and the West Bank.
Archaeologists believe some sort of palace may have existed there around 700 BC, which may have served as an administrative office, a summer palace, or a palace for women.
In the 5th to 7th centuries AD the site houses a Byzantine church and monastry.
A kibbutz was founded on the site in 1926.