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Friday, September 11, 2009

Ancient synagogue unearthed in the Galilee

This handout file photo provided on September 11, 2009 by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) shows a large carved stone found during excavations of a recently uncovered synagogue at Migdal on the north-western end of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. The synagogue, dated to the 2nd Temple period (50BC - 100AD) is one of the oldest ever found, and was unearthed at Migdal.... Archaeologists were particularly excited by the discovery of the stone depicting the menorah -- a seven-branched candelabrum -- from the Jewish Second Temple which was destroyed in 70 AD during the Roman siege of Jerusalem. (Getty Images)

In the middle of the 120 square meter main hall of the synagogue archaeologists discovered an unusual stone carved with a seven branched menorah . "We are dealing with an exciting and unique find," said excavation director and Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni.

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

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.