Israel Dept. of Antiquities and Museums/Tsila Sagiv

Face A of the lead weight discovered recently to a burrow, or low tunnel, used by Jewish defenders during the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135 A.D.). The drawing clarifies the crudely executed square Hebrew letters that appear an each face. The letters surround a six-petaled rosette enclosed by two concentric circles.

The inscription on face A begins in the upper right corner of the weight between the small handle and the top of the rosette and then continues counterclockwise arms; the top of the weight and around the other three sides.

The face A inscription is translated. “Simeon ben Kosba president (or head of state) of Israel and his economic chief. Peras.”

Visible an the edges of face A is a zigzag line, designed to protect the consumer from receiving a short measure. If an unscrupulous merchant chipped off a few grams from the weight, the damaged zigzag line would alert a wary buyer.

In this photograph the weight appears slightly larger than its actual size, 3 1/2 by 2 2/3 inches and 1/3 inch thick. Small as it is, the lead tablet weighs almost two pounds.