web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Hebrew Inscription Provides Oldest Archaeological Evidence of Jews in Iberia


Hebrew inscription bearing the name “Yehiel” is the oldest archaeological evidence of Jews in Iberia. Thought to be a tomb slab, the discovery adds visibility to the early history of Jews in Portugal.

Hebrew inscription bearing the name “Yehiel” is the oldest archaeological evidence of Jews in Iberia. Thought to be a tomb slab, the discovery adds visibility to the early history of Jews in Portugal.
Photo Credit: Dennis Graen, Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/hebrew-inscription-provides-oldest-archaeological-evidence-of-jews-in-iberia/

The recent discovery of a marble plate bearing the Hebrew inscription “Yehiel” in Portugal serves as the oldest archaeological evidence of Jews in Iberia. Dated sometime before 390 C.E., the two-foot-wide marble plate appears to be a tomb slab. Discovered in a Roman-era excavation near the city of Silves, Portugal by archaeologists from the German Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the discovery predates the previous oldest evidence of Jews in Iberia by nearly a century.

The slab was found in a rubble layer nearby antlers, which were carbon dated to 390 C.E. Excavation director Dr. Dennis Graen explains. “we have a so-called ‘terminus ante quem’ for the inscription, as it must have been created before it got mixed in with the rubble with the antlers.”

The history of Jews in Iberia is known from texts documenting interactions between relatively large populations of Jews and Christians around 300 C.E., but until now, there has not been archaeological evidence of the early population. At the time, Jews in Iberia (and across the Roman Empire) wrote in Latin script, making the the Hebrew inscription bearing the Biblical name “Yehiel” (and other still-to-be translated text) a unique find.

It is the first instance of a Hebrew inscription found in a Roman villa in the region.

A recent discovery at a Roman villa near Silves, Portugal stands out as the oldest evidence of Jews in Iberia.

Before the discovery, the oldest archaeological evidence of Jews in Iberia was a late 5th century C.E. tomb slab with a Latin inscription and an image of a menorah, and the oldest known Hebrew inscription appears centuries later. The discovery by the University of Jena archaeologists provides a fascinating look at a unique circumstance of Jewish and Roman populations living together in this period, and provides archaeological context for the history of Jews in Portugal. The site is still under examination, and the Biblical archaeology world eagerly anticipates a further study of the Hebrew inscription and a deeper investigation of the early population of Jews in Iberia.

Read the full press release from Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

About the Author: Bible History Daily is a publication of the Biblical Archaeology Society.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Hebrew Inscription Provides Oldest Archaeological Evidence of Jews in Iberia”

  1. So happy about these findings in my old Country.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.
Hillary Clinton Says She Will Be Better Friend than Obama to Israel
Latest News Stories
Placard at counter protest of neo-Nazis in London on Saturday.

Thirty Policemen escorted a total of 21 neo-Nazi in the “anti-Jewification” protest that flopped.

Young teenagers point rifles at Syrian soldiers at ancient Roman amphitheater.

ISIS released a video of a modern-day replay of the thirst for blood in ancient Roman amphitheaters.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2012.

The woman who once said “**** the Jews” has a different attitude when it comes to funding her campaign for president.

Rocket that hit a field in the Eshkol region on July 3, 2015

A third Grad rocket was found in the Eshkol region on Saturday.

If Lapid decides that his party will support the proposal in the Knesset, he will go down in history as the man who saved Israel’s gas industry and credibility.

The House of Bishops, led by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, overwhelmingly defeated the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions resolution.

US alone voted no on UNHRC Resolution condemning only Israel for wrongdoing in last summer’s conflict.

Sinai terrorists expanded their range of attack Friday, aiming rocket fire at southern Israel as well.

5:21 PM The rocket landed in a field in the Eshkol region. Apparently from Sinai. 5:06 PM Channel 1 reports that citizens say they saw the rocket fly over from Sinai. 4:49 PM IDF Spox says they believe only 1 rocket was launched. The IDF is examining if the rocket was launched from the Sinai. […]

Iran is not budging in nuclear talks on its refusal to allow spot inspections of military sites.

Nothing like a Kosher frank for the 4th of July, even if this year, you have to cook it before Shabbat.

Nothing quite like Hamas terrorist supporters on the Temple Mount openly waving their flags..

Machsom Watch women came to harass IDF soldiers in Hebron but embarrassed themselves instead.

A Palestinian Authority Arab was shot and killed after he attacked an Israeli army commander driving in near Jerusalem.

The US Mennonite church votes to table an anti-Israel BDS resolution for two years.

Israel has tightened security and is on high alert for Friday Ramadan prayers.

More Articles from Bible History Daily
The Qeiyafa Ostracon and the Gezer Calendar

Epigraphy scholar Christopher Rollston examined four contenders for the oldest Hebrew inscription – the Qeiyafa Ostracon, Gezer Calendar, Tel Zayit Abecedary and Izbet Zayit Abecedary – to explore the interplay between early Hebrew script and language.

The 12th boundary stone from Tel Gezer, discovered over a decade before this latest find. The bilingual boundary stone features Greek and Hebrew text with personal and geographical titles.

Archaeologists working at the Biblical site of Tel Gezer discovered a boundary stone inscribed with both Greek and Hebrew text dating to the period of conflict between the Seleucids and the Maccabees.

Discovered in a Roman-era excavation near the city of Silves, Portugal by archaeologists from the German Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the discovery predates the previous oldest evidence of Jews in Iberia by nearly a century.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/archaeology-news/hebrew-inscription-provides-oldest-archaeological-evidence-of-jews-in-iberia/2012/05/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: