Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority say that some coins recently discovered underneath the foundations of the Western Wall in Jerusalem challenge the current belief that King Herod completed the construction of the Temple Mount complex. Among the coins unearthed by diggers were four that were made out of bronze and stamped with the name of Roman proconsul Valerius Gratus. Valerius Gratus was Rome’s representative in Jerusalem before Pontius Pilate of the New Testament stories, and the coins date to around 17 A.D.
Found inside an ancient ritual bath that was filled in to support the Temple Mount’s Western Wall, the coins probably indicate that construction of the complex was not completed until well after Herod’s death in 4 B.C. The discovery lends further credence to the record of 1st-century Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus who wrote that the construction of the Temple Mount complex was not completed until around 50 A.D., during the reign of Agrippa II who was the great-grandson of King Herod.