Archaeologists discover 2000-year-old synagogue in Israel

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Washington, September 12 (ANI): Archaeologists have discovered one of the world's oldest synagogues in Northern Israel, dating back to some 2000 years from 50BC to 100 AD.

According to a report by the CNN, the site was unearthed at the site of a new 122-room hotel near the Sea of Galilee.

The uncovered synagogue dates to 50 BC to 100 AD, and in the middle of its 120 square meter main hall, archaeologists discovered an engraving of the seven-branched lamp, or menorah, "unlike any ever seen", according to workers at the site.

Officials at the Antiquities Authority said, "starting with the beginning of the dig three weeks ago, we realized we had found something interesting. The findings at the site were also well preserved."

The synagogue's central hall measured 120 meters square and was surrounded by benches for attendees. On the floor was a mosaic and the walls were frescoed.

In the hall, the square stone was uncovered, decorated with engravings on all four sides and tip.

One engraving includes the seven-branched lamp, which stands on a single leg with a triangle base with vessels on either side.

"This is a very exciting and unique discovery, this is the first time a lamp engraving from the Second Temple age has been uncovered, the earliest lamp in a Jewish context, dated to the beginning of the Roman period," site director Dina Avshalom-Gorni said.

The menorah engraving is the first of its kind to be discovered from the Early Roman period according to Avshalom-Gorni, who said that the site joins just six synagogue locations that are know to date from the same time.

She said synagogues from this period were extremely rare in part because many Jews during that time were in the habit of visiting the main temple in Jerusalem three times a year as opposed to attending local houses of worship.

Avshalom-Gorni posited that the engraved menorah was done by an artist who had visited the main synagogue in Jerusalem known as the Second Temple where the actual menorah was believed to be kept.

In addition to the engraved stone, Avshalom-Gorni said that they discovered preserved frescoes on the walls with "vivid" colors.

The synagogue was discovered in area called Migdal, historically an important settlement along the Sea of Galilee, which researchers say was mentioned in ancient Jewish texts as playing a prominent role during what is known as the Great Revolt, when Jews attempted to rebel against Roman rule. (ANI)

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