Thursday, April 04, 2019

Menorah decoration found in Roman-era town near Beer Sheva

ARCHAEOLOGY: 2000 Year Old Jewish Settlement Unearthed in Beer Sheva (David Israel, The Jewish Press).
The excavation discovered for the first time evidence of Jewish daily life in the ancient city, including part of an oil lamp decorated with a nine-branch menorah, limestone vessels used by Jews for ritual purity, and a watchtower. The site, dated from the early first century CE to the Bar-Kochva rebellion of 135, contains hidden underground passageways that were used by the Jewish rebels.
The menorah decoration is one of the earliest surviving depictions of a menorah. The Jerusalem Post says it's the earliest, but that isn't clear. The one on the Magdala Stone (see here for a photo) is of a comparable date and could be earlier. Note that the one on the Magdala Stone has seven branches, which implies that it is a depiction of the menorah in the Temple.

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