web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 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
Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015
Arabs Beat Up Tourist on Temple Mount [video]
Latest News Stories
Two of 20 bridges on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed train line.

The long-planned and long-delayed high-speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is getting closer Israel Railways has begun to lay tracks for the western section of the line in the Ayalon Valley, west of Jerusalem. The target date for launching passenger train on the new line is January 2018, 17 years after construction began. The […]

Sgt. Jatemliansquy, originally from Argentina and now at home in Israel.

The Home Front Command for the first time has deployed female soldiers to guard the front lines in Shechem in Samaria.

Tourist injured by Muslim mob on Temple Mount on August 4, 2015

The tourist supposedly waved an Israeli flag, at which point the Muslim mob tried to kill him.

two phrases

The Obama administration also promises not sell F-35 to any other Middle East country – but for how long?

Meir Ettinger, the Shin Bet’s most wanted Jew, is suspected of leading a national underground revolutionary movement.

Israelis enjoy kayaking in the Jordan river in Northern Israel on August 2, 2015, as temperature reached 47 degrees Celcius in some parts of Israel.

New York Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice will vote against the Iran deal.

Arab terrorists threw firebombs at a Jerusalem car, severely burning the driver and two more people.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

Americans oppose the Iran deal, and only a slight majority of Democrats support it.

Chuck Schumer’s office has received more than 10,000 phone calls over the past two weeks, all of them from groups and individuals opposed to the Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry reassures the Gulf States, who are gouging him for more arms and to force Israel out of Judea and Samaria.

Its so hot, the Arab threat to drive us into the sea don’t sound half bad…

No one was injured from the mortar fire that apparently strayed during clashes.

The gang attacked a Haredi man and then a religious couple with brass knuckles and a knife. The woman recited the Shema prayer.

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: