Photo Credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority
Closeup of the hoard found in the building foundations.

For the very first time, evidence has been found in Lod from the Gallus Revolt, the last Jewish resistance against Roman rule.

The dramatic discovery – a large public building, in whose foundations a 1650-year-old hoard was hidden, is to be publicized in a new book commensurate with the annual Central Israel Region Archaeological Conference, open to the public free of charge.


The conference will be held in the Eretz Yisrael Museum in Tel Aviv and jointly hosted by Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

An excavation on Nordau Street in Lod, led by the Israel Antiquities Authority and funded by the Lod Municipality, uncovered a public building from the Late Roman—Early Byzantine period that suffered violent destruction.

The Jewish public building discovered in Lod.

The foundations of the building held 94 silver and bronze coins dating between 221—354 CE. The coins were deliberately placed there in the hopes of collecting them upon the owner’s return when the situation would calm.

The hoard found in the building foundations. They hoped to return to collect it when the threat passed.

The latest coins are dated from the time of the Gallus Revolt (351-354 CE). Though written evidence is sparse regarding this revolt, there are texts reporting that major Jewish communities such as Lod, Zipori and Tiberias were destroyed by the forces of Roman Ceasar Flavius Constantinus Gallus.

Among the various finds in the building were impressive stone and marble artifacts; Greek, Hebrew and Latin inscriptions, and one inscription bearing the name of a Jewish man from a priestly family, which is still being studied.

These inscriptions, coupled with the complete absence of pig bones from the bone assemblage uncovered in this site, attest to this building’s association with the Jewish community.

According to the site excavators, Shahar Krispin and Mor Viezel of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “In all likelihood this is a magnificent Jewish building that housed the city’s elders.

Archaeologist Shahar Krispin holds the coin hoard after its discovery.

“From Talmudic writings we know that Lod was a most significant Jews center in the aftermath of the Second Temple’s destruction in Jerusalem. Sone of the renowned ‘Sages of Lod’ are Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanos, Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yosi HaGalili and many more,” the archaeologists said.

Archaeologist Mor Viezel of the Israel Antiquities Authority

“This building, destroyed down to its very foundation, is a clear indication that the revolt was forcefully put down with violence and cruelty, and was not simply a local uprising event, as some earlier studies contended. This is the singular witness, thus far, to the extent and power of this revolt in Lod, located in the country’s center.”

Professor Joshua Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority Council Head studies the Talmudic period in Lod. “It is difficult to determine if this magnificent building served as synagogue, study hall, meeting hall of the elders, or all three of these functions as one,” he cautioned.

“But what is clear is that the building’s size, the coin hoard, and the assemblage of archaeological finds produced by the excavation, fit well Lod/Diospolis’ description in both Jewish and non-Jewish sources as a center of Torah-true Jewish life in the Mishna and Talmud periods.

“Lod’s role as a leading community with elders continued from after the destruction through to this moment, when it was cruelly cut down in the Gallus Revolt.”

Israel Antiquities Authority Director Eli Escusido said the finds “reinforce our responsibility to investigate and to conserve Lod’s history and rich heritage.

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“Along with the city’s new exhibition center of the beautiful Lod mosaic, we now bring this building to the awareness of the general public.”

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo expressed his joy at the find.

Closeup of the hoard found in the building foundations.

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo visits the site.

“This is an exciting and very emotionally moving find, another link in the chain of Lod’s Tannaitic period heritage as host to the authors of the Mishna, and to Lod’s Jewish history,” Revivo said.

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo with a coin excavated from the building.

“The finds in the area proves that Lod is the one of the oldest cities in the world,” the mayor noted.

The hoard, as it was found at the site.

“We wish to thank the Israel Antiquities Authority for revealing our city’s past glory,” Revivo added.

“I believe that now that it is uncovered, this site will bring many tourists and visitors to the city: Lod is connecting to its past and is looking forward to a bright future.”

The finds will be published in in conjunction with the Central Israel Region Archaeological Conference to be held on June 20. The conference is open to the general public and will be held in the Eretz Yisrael Museum in Tel Aviv, hosted jointly by Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.