Last month, Israeli archaeologists discovered some important artifacts in the town of Itamar in Samaria. The most important, a silver coin from era of the Hasmoneans—the priestly dynasty, established by Judah the Maccabee, who ruled an independent Judea from about 140 to 37 BCE. Efrat Forsher writes:
The coin was minted in the city of Tyre in modern-day Lebanon, . . . in the time of Seleucid king Demetrius II and the high priest John Hyrcanus.
The excavation has also revealed a Second Temple-era stone structure; a sealed cistern that had never been opened, which contained tools and vessels assessed to be some 2,000 years old, including cooking pots; as well as an olive press, a mikveh, and a bronze Roman coin minted in Nablus (Shechem) in the middle of the 3rd century CE. The coin is imprinted with an image of Mount Gerizim, [the site of ritual described in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua].
According to researchers, the finds indicate the former presence of a rural community that reached its peak between the end of the Second Temple and Roman periods.