CAMBRIDGE, Mass (Sep. 30)
A synagogue dating back 1,700 years containing numerous Hebrew and Greek inscriptions, has been discovered by American archaeologists in western Turkey, it was announced here by a spokesman of a Harvard-Cornell University expedition.
The synagogue was built between 220 and 250 C.E., according to Professor Louis Robert, director of the French Archaeological Institute in Istanbul. Inscriptions inside the structure state that it was renovated in the early Byzantine era–during the fourth or fifth century.
Located in the West Turkish town of Sardis, about 50 miles east of Izmir, the synagogue’s decorations were said to “throw considerable light” on the Sardis Jewish community’s social status and organization at that time.
The archaeologists also unearthed a marble slab showing a menorah, and a shofar, and two marble platforms thought to have been used for Bible reading. The archaeologists are convinced that the synagogue 60 feet wide and 120 feet long, was the Sardis Jewish community’s main meeting place.