Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Bar Kochba Coin from Clay City Kentucky

Recently I wrote that serious academic scholars base much of their theories on the physical evidence found in the field. I asked how can they be sure that these findings are not FORGERIES? Today I followed a story I read on Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut's book "The Magen David: How the Six-Pointed Star Became an Emblem for the Jewish" and found an interesting answer for my question.
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut developed a whole argument around the story of Robert Cox who found in 1952 a Bar Kochba coin in a pigs' pen. Plaut said that since Bar Kochba's revolt failed there's no reason to think that the spreading of the Star of David started in his period. Anyhow Israeli coin expert Yaakov Meshorer identified the Bar Kochba coin as a forgery from the beginning of the 20th century.
One side of this coin shows the Star of David above the Second Temple and the name Simon in Old Hebrew letters. On the other side there's a lulav and an ethrog and the words "Year 2 of the Freedom of Israel".
In his survey of "Pre-Columbian Old World Coins in America" Jeremiah F. Epstein devoted almost a page to the Kentucky Bar Kochba coins. This seems to me like a waste of good energy – why include it in the book if it is forged? This only adds fuel to the debate about the possibility that Solomon's fleet arrived to America…
Similar coins were found in 1922 near the Missouri/Arkansas state line; in 1932 in Louisville, Kentucky; in 1967 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and in Alcolu, South Carolina. This last mentioned coin was also identified by Meshorer as a forgery.