The recently renovated Davidson Center Archaeological Garden in Jerusalem’s Old City opened an exhibition on Monday featuring a number of rare and ancient artifacts related to the Temple Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra that many know from its use as a symbol of Israel.
Among the objects on display is an ancient coin with the oldest-known depiction of the Temple Menorah, dated to approximately 40 B.C., during the reign of the last Hasmonean king. It is not clear where or when the coin was found, but it was reportedly donated to Israel sometime in the 1940s.
“This is the oldest known artistic depiction of the menorah, created 107 years before the destruction of the Second Temple,” said Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of archaeology and administration at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Also on display in the newly opened exhibit is the Magdala Stone, believed to have been a Torah-reading table from a first-century synagogue. The stone, carved with multiple menorahs, was found in the town of Migdal in 2009.
A piece of plaster from a Second Temple period tomb discovered in the 1950s is another central object at the exhibition. The plaster is engraved with five menorahs.
The Davidson Center opened on Monday after three years of renovations that doubled the size of the museum and its visitor center, which now features interactive technology as a way for guests to experience life during the First and Second Temple time periods.
“Over the ages, people have found different ways to tell stories, which is a wonderful thing for the human condition,” said Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the Davidson Foundation, which funds the project. “This story comes back to the original artifacts and original stones, so we can tell the history using archaeological finds, and use the technology to add to people’s understanding of the story behind them.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.