Empress Sabina, Hadrian’s wife, appears on an Aelia Capitolina coin, found in a tunnel in the el-Jai cave. The same cave yielded a second Aelia Capitolina coin (see photograph), which also celebrates the founding of the Roman colony in Jerusalem, and a coin from Gaza that can be dated to 133–134 C.E. Hanan Eshel argues that all of these coins, as well as a tetradrachma minted by Jewish rebels (see photograph), were deposited at the same time—by Jewish rebels based in the caves during the revolt. The caves were abandoned in 135 C.E., when Rome crushed the revolt. Thus, the two coins commemorating the founding of Aelia Capitolina could not have been minted after the war, indicating that the Roman colony was founded before the revolt, as Dio Cassius wrote.

“Roman Jerusalem- Aelia Capitolina—Jerusalem No More,” BAR Nov-Dec 1997.