Museum of Israel finds rare 6th century holy site souvenir among donated collection

JERUSALEM — A rare coin artifact from the 6th or 7th century was found in a large collection donated to the Israel Museum.

“It belonged to a pilgrim from the 6th or 7th century and there is a Christmas scene on the piece, which means that the owner visited Bethlehem,” said Assistant Director of the Museum of Israel in Jerusalem Morag Wilhelm to CBN News.

Wilhelm discovered the rare new piece in a large collection donated to the museum and said, “It is possible to see the child Jesus, as well as a bull and a donkey, inside an architectural building and this leads to the belief that this building is the Church of the Nativity.”

The piece is made of soil likely taken from the holy site. The piece is unique in that Joseph and Mary are not in the picture.

Julie Stoll of the Museum of Israel in Jerusalem said, “Here in the archaeological pavilion of the Museum of Israel there is a model of an early church in the Holy Land and there are artifacts showing that pilgrims since ancient times wanted to take souvenirs with them, just as they do today.”