Omaha – It was a special year for UNO in 2013 with countless events, achievements, special guest visits and national recognitions for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
In fact, one special announcement from 2013 was over 2,000 years in the making.
During a summer dig in Bethsaida, UNO's archeological site in Israel, a student volunteer discovered a several-millenia old coin with the faces of Cleopatra, Egpyt's last pharoah, and Marc Antony, a political leader in Rome, on each side. Known colloquially as the "Lovers' Coin," there are less than five known to exist in the world, including the one most recently discovered at Bethsaida.
Bethsaida is a dig site located just east of the Jordan River in Israel at a former village mentioned several times in the New Testament.
The coin dates back to the time when Rome ruled over Egpyt and the death of Julius Caesar led to a civil war betwen Anthony and Caesar's son, Octavius.
“Something like this, we have never seen it before,” explained Rami Arav, head of the Bethsaida Excavations and a UNO professor of relgious studies. “And we've been at this a long time.”
Because the coin was discovered at the Bethsaida site, it is property of Israel and, after it has been catalogued and preserved, it will likely be put into a museum. Meanwhile, Arav and the rest of his team are preparing for the next dig in the summer of 2014 with the hopes of finding another of history's rare and priceless artifacts.
Omaha World-Herald Story on Lover's Coin
Bethsaida Excavation Homepage
Previous 'Best of 2013':
The Wizard of Kabul