The oldest evidence of Jewish culture on the Iberian Peninsula

Published on June 1st, 2012 | by Admin


Archaeologists have found a tomb slab which dates back to 390 A.D. that contains a Hebrew inscription, making it the oldest evidence of Jewish culture on the Iberian Peninsula.

Archaeologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) found some of the oldest archaeological evidence so far of Jewish culture on the Iberian Peninsula at an excavation site in the south of Portugal, close to the city of Silves (Algarve). On a marble plate, measuring 40 by 60 centimetres, the name “Yehiel” can be read, followed by further letters which have not yet been deciphered. The Jena Archaeologists believe that the new discovery might be a tomb slab. Antlers, which were found very close to the tomb slab in the rubble gave a clue to the age determination.

“The organic material of the antlers could be dated by radiocarbon analysis with certainty to about 390 AD,” excavation leader Dr. Dennis Graen of the Jena University explains. “Therefore 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.”

[Full story]

Story: ScienceDaily | Photo: Debbus Graen/FSU

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