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More Archeology Headlines for April 2009

This month, old coins dating back to the days of Philip II, ancient Hebrew inscriptions, and the discovery of an 1,000-year-old gravestone that served as a parking lot marker are the topics of April 2009 headlines to hit the news this month.

Old Coins Uncovered

At Carevi Kuli (also known as the Tsar’s Towers) in Macedonia, two ceramic bowls filled with medieval coins were reported found this month. Located at Strumica Fortress, archeologists were pleased to discover 4,300 coins that date back to the second half of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries. This would make the find one of the largest and most significant of its time.

According to the head of the ongoing archaeological excavations (archaeologist Zoran Rujak), there were only about three kinds of coins that Manojlo I Komnen and other emperors produced.  Researchers have also found many other kinds of coins representing various historical periods at the site, including the oldest that date back to 350 B.C. (period under Philip II).

Ancient Hebrew Inscription Found

When archeologists found a piece of limestone with a handful of Hebrew letters on it at the Jerusalem National Park, they soon learned that the find and other artifacts dated back to the 8th century BC. While sifting soil during an excavation around the Gihon Spring, this ancient script was detected and later dated to be from around the same period as the King of Judah.

Thanks to the support and hard work of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, Ir David Foundation sponsorship, and Eli Shukron of the IAA, we may learn the meaning behind the stone fragment and various shards of pottery also found on the site. Already made out, is the shape of Hebrew letters engraved in the inscription.

Broken on all sides, the plaque still shows two lines of writing on the inscription. When looking at the upper line, it is clear that the last part of a given name was placed. However, the remains of another letter cannot be deciphered. If these clues should somehow come to light, the historical importance of the inscription would appear. Researchers believe that the stone plaque was used to commemorate perhaps a building project. Those involved are eager to see if any other pieces of the plaque emerge so that they can learn more about the inscription.

1,000-Year-Old Gravestone Misinterpreted

Marking the boundaries of a church parking lot in Sweden, people have always thought that the object was just a rock, but according to Lars Andersson of the Stockholm County Museum , the rock is actually a gravestone that dates back 1,000 years. Andersson refers to the find as a runestone that has ties to the Viking Age in Sweden. Shedding light on the subject are runic inscriptions found on the rock. Discovered last fall at the church, the rock was found when the congregation had to lay down cables. Over the years, the true use of the rock had been a complete mystery. Covered in mud and other natural elements, the inscriptions were hidden until now.