Pottery types characteristic of this archeological period:

In 539 BCE, Cyrus, the king of Persia, issued an edict that permitted the Jews who had been exiled to Babylonia to return to their homeland. According to biblical accounts, approximately 42,800 Hebrews made the pilgrimage back to Judah. But because of the interference of the Samaritans, the restoration of Solomon’s Temple was delayed. Judah was now a vassal state, ruled by a High Priest who, in turn, paid tribute to Persian rulers. However, this did not prevent the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah from making proclamations to the people. For the first time, small coins were minted by the Persian authorities for use in Judah. The tiny silver coins pictured a falcon on one side: the reverse side featured the word “Yehud,” meaning Jews.

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