Detail of the carved menorah at the tomb of the door.
(Photo by Numerous Rogovsky)
As the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah comes to an end, the discovery of an ancient tomb door with a beautiful menorah inscription provides a fascinating glimpse into Israel’s rich history.
The basalt tomb, which is undergoing preservation work, was recently on display at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The door was discovered in Tiberias in Israel to the Galilee region in 2010 by archaeologists from the University, but was only unveiled to the public a few weeks ago, said Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman, a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University, Institute of Archaeology and Department of Islamic and Middle East Studies.
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Cytryn-Silverman, who leads the current Tiberias excavation, explained that the door drew a lot of attention when it went on display.
Tomb of the menorah is exposed during excavations in Tiberias in 2010.
(Photo by the expedition)
“If this happened in the direction of the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah ─ celebrates the liberation and rededication of the Second Temple by the Maccabeans (second century BCE) and the miracle of the lasting oil burned in the Temple of the menorah for eight days ─ we decided to find out the public knowledge, as a good desire for Hannukah and for the holiday season,” she told Fox News, via e-mail.
The tomb is decorated with an image of the seven branched menorah that stood in the old Jewish Temple, one of the most important symbols of Judaism. (A nine-branched menorah lit to celebrate Chanukah, which this year began on Dec. 12 and runs to Dec. 20.)
The artifact also serves as a reminder of Israel’s multicultural heritage, Cytryn-Silverman said.
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Grave is still in-situ excavation at the site.
(Photo by the expedition)
Probably a part of a Jewish tomb from the second to the fourth century, the door was discovered during the excavations of a former mosque, and sugar work dates from the seventh century.
“We found that the top step of a staircase that leads to a small room that was actually part of a basalt-Jewish-grave,” Cytryn-Silverman explained.
“Such a tomb doors, probably taken from the Jewish cemetery in the north of the classic city [of Tiberias], al brought in this area during the beginning of the eighth century, when the Umayyads changed the simple mosque of the seventh century, in a monumental mosque,” Cytryn-Silverman explained.
The plate was used as the basis for a pillar in the mosque, she added.
Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman, excavation director, stood at the door with carved menorah, on the Collections in the Hall of the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University.
(Photo by Numerous Rogovsky)
At its height, in the eighth century, the Umayyad Caliphate stretched across a large part of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.
The tomb of the colorful history, however, not at the end. The mosque was destroyed by an earthquake in 1068, and then leave. But then, during the Crusade era, the site was a part of a complex dedicated to the production of sugar.
Cytryn-Silverman cites a twelfth-century sugar delivery request of the knights hospitaller of Jerusalem their facilities in Tiberias and the Mount Pelerin, Lebanon.
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The site is use came to an end when the building collapsed in the beginning of the thirteenth century.
Cytryn-Silverman told Fox News there are still plenty of questions to be answered about the door. “The fact that this person is chosen for a top step is also a challenge for our modern mind: was this a positive or negative credit of the menorah?” she said. “They were stepping on purpose? Does the room serve a special function? Were the residents of the home actually be aware of the importance of it? This Was just a beautifully decorated piece?
While these questions are still difficult to answer, the very use [the door] on this place, and our ultimate exposure, revived the long route, of Jewish hands, to be a Muslim, and the Christian owners.”
The tomb seal is one of many fascinating archaeological finds in Israel in recent months. Archaeologists, for example, has recently launched a drone to search for a mysterious ancient structure in the heart of an Israeli military training area.
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In the past month, there are new facts dated Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Tomb from the Roman period, matching historical records.
Archeologists also recently discovered a beautiful 1500 year old Christian mosaic in the ancient Mediterranean coastal city of Ashdod-Yam, which is now part of the modern city of Ashdod.
Other finds include the skeleton of a pregnant woman, dating back 3200 years, in Israel’s Timna Valley, a place once known as “King Solomon’s Mines.
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In October, archaeologists in Jerusalem announced that they have discovered a new section of the Western Wall, which has been hidden for 1700 years.
Some experts also believe they have the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles, Peter, Andrew and Philip.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers