Courtesy Manfred R. Lehmann

Another, unusually large, Roman coin of this period holds the key to the fate of the Copper Scroll’s treasure. Issued by Emperor Nerva (96–98 C.E.), the coin features a profile of Nerva on the obverse and a palm tree, a symbol of Palestine, on the reverse. The legend surrounding the tree reads, Fisci Judaici Calumnia Sublata (the insult of the Jewish taxes has been annulled). Although some numismatic experts have interpreted this to mean that Rome had lifted a discriminatory tax on the Jews, Lehmann argues that the Romans would never have characterized their own tax in such a manner at a time when they were still commemorating their victory over the Jews. Instead, Lehmann contends, the coin celebrates the discovery and suppression of the secret Jewish tax, which was an insult to Rome. It is probable that the Romans at that time found and confiscated the treasure listed in the Copper Scroll, and that is what is being commemorated by the legend on the Nerva coin.