web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 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
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Pro-Israel Group: Tell Chuck Schumer Not to Cave [video]
Latest News Stories
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Remind Sen. Chuck Schumer that he said any deal with Iran must include “anywhere, anytime” inspections.

Malachi Rosenfeld HY"D

The four men were returning from a basketball game near the Israeli community of Shvut Rachel when Palestinian Authority gunmen opened fire on their car in what security sources believe to have been a premeditated ambush.

The funeral for Rabbi Yekutiel Menachem Rapp is to pass by 770 Eastern Parkway Tuesday at 3:45 pm ET.

The United States and the other P5+1 powers unsurprisingly have extended the June 30 deadline for reaching an agreement to supervise and limit Iran’s nuclear development program. The extension is for one week, until July 7. As The JewishPress.com reported here earlier this week, “deadline” has a different meaning in the Muslim Middle East than […]

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, lived in the community of Kochav HaShachar in Samaria.

“The PA message to Washington is they want peace. The PA message to their kids is killing Israelis is heroic. It’s time the U.S. figured out which is the true message.”

The agreement does not mean that Orange is leaving Israel, despite wrong headlines elsewhere.

ISIS executioners the past 12 months have murdered 3,000 people, including 86 women and 74 children.

The Tzohar rabbinic organization is focusing on how Anglo immigrants “fit” into Israel’s mosaic this summer.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warned world leaders they must take a stand against terror in Israel as well.

Two US churches vote on BDS anti-Semitic motions today. One is to vote Wednesday. Millions could be affected.

Israel’s government approves new security fencing along its eastern border.

The father of a critically injured victim of Monday’s road terror attack in Binyamin asks people to pray for his son.

Some Chareidi men fishing on the beach, near the Ashdod port.

Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yekutiel Rapp, 66, is struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in Crown Heights.

Jews in Ukraine are without one of their life-saving Hatzolah ambulances after an arsonist targeted the vehicle Sunday.

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: