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An Ancient Jewish Building Discovered in Southwestern Turkey


Excavating the ancient city of Limyra in southwestern Anatolia, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of a Jewish community, probably dating to the first centuries of the Common Era. Megan Sauter writes:

In a building recently excavated by Martin Seyer, chancel screens with Jewish symbols—menorahs, a shofar, and a lulav(palm branch)—have been uncovered. In a later period, these screens were broken and reused as paving stones.

In the same building, close to the discovery spot of the chancel screens, is a water basin. With plastered walls and a floor of marble slabs, this basin was fed by rainwater. A low stone bench rests against one of the walls. Could this basin have served as amikveh, a Jewish ritual bath? . . .

In short, it appears that this building had features of a synagogue in both an early and late phase. . . . [The marble] slabs are without doubt remnants of screens that separated the Torah shrine from the rest of the hall. Such chancel screens have been found


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