They discover a 2,000-year-old synagogue in a northern city
It is the second synagogue found in Migdal , in the Galilee region. According to the researchers, this is the first case in which two cult sites from the Second Temple period are located in the same city.
A 2,000-year-old synagogue, from the Second Temple period, was recently discovered in Migdal, which was a major Jewish settlement at the time. The place served as Yosef ben Matityahu's main base during his war against the Romans in the Galilee region at the time of the great revolt. This is the second synagogue from this period to be found in the city, making it the first case in which two Second Temple-era synagogues have been discovered in the same location.
Archaeological excavations at the site are being carried out by YG Archiologia Chozit, a company headed by Dr. Yehuda Govrin, and with support from the Zinman Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa.
"The discovery of a second synagogue in the Galilee sheds light on the social and religious life of the Jews in that region during this period and reflects the need for a special structure for Torah reading and study and social gatherings. »
Dina Avshalom Gurni, specialist at the University of Haifa
« The discovery of a second synagogue in the Galilee sheds light on the social and religious life of the Jews in that region during this period and reflects the need for a special structure for Torah study and reading and social gatherings . The finding of the new synagogue in Migdal, as well as candles, glass bowls, coins and stone utensils, testify to the connection of the Jews of that town with Jerusalem and the Temple ," said Dina Avshalom Gurni, a specialist from the University of Haifa who also participated in the excavations.
Migdal is located on the northwestern side of the Sea of Galilee. The eastern sector was excavated over a decade ago by the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the direction of Dina Avshalom Gurni, and these excavations revealed the first synagogue, also dating to the Second Temple period. In the center of the synagogue a unique stone with a relief of a seven-branched menorah was found. According to specialists, the artist recreated the menorah placed in the Temple. This stone is currently on display at the Yigal Alon Center near the Sea of Galilee.
The synagogue, which is currently being excavated, was partially discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority earlier this year under the direction of Barak Tzin. The agency pointed out at that time that it was a public building from Roman times, but because only a small part was excavated, it was not possible to know the nature of the structure and its use. Further work in the area revealed a large square structure built of basalt and limestone, with a central hall and two additional rooms. The walls of the main hall are plastered with white and colored plaster, and a stone bench was built next to them, which is also plastered. The ceiling of the room, probably made of wood and clay, was supported by six pillars placed on two stone bases. In a small room on the south side of the corridor was a plastered stone shelf, which may have been used as a repository for storing scrolls.
It was the first synagogue from the Second Temple period to be discovered in the Galilee and the ninth in the entire country. Since then, another synagogue from the period has been discovered in the same region, and now another temple from those days has been found in the same city. According to the researchers, this discovery sheds new light on Jewish life in Second Temple days.
« During this period, the Temple still existed. The lack of evidence on the synagogues was due to the fact that they were probably buildings that were not well known. In other words, due to the number of worship sites in Jerusalem, it was believed that synagogues in other cities were not necessary ,” said Professor Adi Erlich, director of the Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa.
However, finding two synagogues in a town of several thousand residents and less than 200 meters apart is changing the landscape. "The fact that we found two synagogues indicates that Second Temple period Jews were looking for a place for religious and perhaps social gatherings," Erlich added.
Source: Spanish Ynet