Soviet Archaeological Expedition Finds Hebrew Antiquities in Crimea

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Hebrew, Greek and Moslem antiquities have been discovered by an expedition of the Moscow Fine Arts Museum on the Taman Peninsuia, Crimea. Considerable interest is evinced here in the findings of the expedition.

The Taman peninsula was the seat of a prosperous Greek colonies at the beginning of the Christian era. That a large number of Jews lived there at that time and subsequently is testified to by the Byzantine historian Theophanes in his “Chronographia,” written in the ninth century of the Christian era. In 680 Taman was captured by the Chazars. In 1475 at the time of the conquest of the Crimea by Mohammed II, Taman was under the rule of the Guizolfis, descendants of the Genoese Jew, Simeon de Guizolfi.

In excavations made on the Taman peninsula after the middle of the nineteenth century there were discovered about 60 tombstones which once marked Jewish graves. The inscriptions on two of these tombstones were partly deciphered; on the others only single Hebrew letters could be made out. All of them bear Jewish symbols–candelabra, shofar and lulob.

A marble slab which forms a part of the wall in the lodge of the synagogue in Theodosia bears the name of the “respected Joshua, son of Meir of Taman Ashkenazi” who died December 31, 1508.

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