The Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced the discovery of a rare coin dating to the Persian era (sixth–fifth centuries BC) at a site in the Judean Hills. It dates to the very dawn of coinage, and is one of only six such coins yet discovered in Israel. The silver coin bears the imprint of a square stamped into one face and predates the later technique of minting coins where the images were protruding rather than sunken in. This particular coin was intentionally cut in half, indicating that it may have been used as a weight, rather than as the coin that it was. Prior to coinage, commercial transactions took place using weighed pieces of silver. Given that this coin dates to the transitional period between the old form of commerce and the new, it may have been used in the old way.
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