3rd Century Hebrew Inscriptions Discovered in Galilee
An 1,800 year old limestone dating to the Roman period engraved with two Hebrew inscriptions was discovered during the course of restoration and conservation work being carried out in the ancient synagogue and neighboring Beit Zinati visitor center at Peqiʽin, in the Western Galilee. A preliminary analysis of the engraving suggests that these are dedicatory inscriptions honoring donors to the synagogue.
According to Yoav Lerer, Israel Antiquities Authority, “The Talmudic and Midrashic sources tell of the Galilean sages that lived in Peqiʽin, including Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who hid from the Romans in a cave". Lerer believes that these inscriptions will add an important tier to our knowledge about the Jewish settlement in the village of Peqiʽin during the Roman and Byzantine periods.
The work is being conducted by the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel as part of a heritage project by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage. The center will tell the two thousand year long history of the Jews in this Galilee village, and the unique story of the village’s oldest Jewish family – the Zinati family.
Beit Zinati Center Director, Uriel Rosenboym, notes, "No one can argue with the written artifact. There was an ancient synagogue here."