During the last hour of the ninth and final season of excavations in Qatzrin, a hoard of some 9,000 bronze coins was found. The coins date to the mid-fourth century C.E. This was a period of high inflation during which the coin currency lost much of its value. These 9,000 bronze coins were exchangeable for just a few gold coins (solidi). To provide some sort of context, eight solid) purchased 25 modii (baskets) of grain.
Most coin hoards of the mid-fourth century have been found in association with synagogues. A few such hoards are of unknown provenance. The Qatzrin hoard is the first hoard of this size that has been found during excavations inside a domestic house.
The largest and most prominent coins are of Julian the Apostate (361–363 C.E.; see inset), the Roman emperor whose attempts to stem the high inflation and to reform the monetary system by minting larger coins were largely unsuccessful. These large coins did not remain in circulation very long.
Coins that were minted after the reign of Julian were once again small in size.
Following cleaning and identification of these coins, the Qatzrin hoard will no doubt provide us with important information regarding mints, new variants of coins and their spans of circulation.