Evidence from about 1650 years ago was uncovered in Lod

Evidence from about 1650 years ago was uncovered in Lod

For the first time, archaeological evidence of the Gallus Revolt – the last Jewish revolt against the Romans – was uncovered in Lod. The dramatic discovery – the remains of a public building that was destroyed, and in whose foundations an ancient treasure from 1650 years ago was hidden, is being published for the first time as part of a new number as part of the 'Conference in the Center'. The conference, open to the public, will be held on June 20 at the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University and the Antiquities Authority.

In excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority in 2022 on Nordau Street in the city, funded by the municipality of Lod, the remains of a public building that was destroyed by violent destruction at the end of the Roman period – the beginning of the Byzantine period were uncovered. In the foundations of the building, 94 silver and bronze coins dating from 222-354 AD were discovered, which were deliberately buried in it – with the hope of returning and collecting them in the course of events. The later coins in the hoard date to the days of the Gallic Revolt (351–354 AD). Although the written evidence of this revolt, under the Roman emperor Constantius Gallus, is rare, there are references to the fact that major Jewish cities such as Lod, Zipuri and Tiberias were destroyed during the revolt, by the army of the emperor Constantius Gallus.

Among the other findings found in the building were impressive stone and marble items, inscriptions in Greek, Hebrew and Latin, and an inscription with the name of a Jewish person from the priestly family and which is still being studied.

The inscriptions, and the fact that no pig bones were found in the assemblage of animal bones discovered at the site, indicate that the building was used by a Jewish population.

According to the site's researchers, Shahar Crispin and Mor Wiesel from the Antiquities Authority, “This is, apparently, a magnificent Jewish public building, where the sages of the city worked. It is known from the writings of sages that Lod served as a significant Jewish center in the days after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The most famous of the sages of Lod are Rabbi Eliezer ben Horkanos, Rabbi Tarpon, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yossi HaGalili and more. The building, which was destroyed to its foundations, indicates that the suppression of the rebellion was done with aggression and violence and it was not just a local riot as claimed in previous studies. This is the only evidence, so far, of the scope and strength of the Gallus rebellion in the center of the Land of Israel.”

According to the Chairman of the Council of the Antiquities Authority, Prof. Yehoshua Schwartz, who studies Jewish Lod, “It is difficult to determine whether the magnificent building that was discovered was used as a synagogue, as a midrash, as a council house – or as all three together. What is clear is that the structure, the hoard of coins and all the archaeological finds discovered in the excavation, communicate well with the Jewish and non-Jewish sources that describe Lod/Diospolis as an important Jewish-Torah center during the Mishna and Talmudic periods. This situation probably continued into the Byzantine period as well, until it was brutally cut off during the Gallus Rebellion.”

According to Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority, “the impressive find emphasizes our commitment to researching and preserving the rich history and heritage of Lod. Along with establishing a center for the spectacular Lod mosaic in the city, we are proud to bring this important testimony, from the days of the Jewish sages, to the general public.”

According to Yair Rabivo, Mayor of Lod, “This is a sensational and very exciting discovery – another link in the chain of Lod's historical Jewish history. The findings in the area prove with certainty that Lod is one of the oldest cities in the world. We would like to thank the Antiquities Authority for revealing the city's past. I believe that this site , after its unveiling, will bring many tourists here in the future: Lod connects with the past and looks forward to a promising future.”

The “In the Center” conference, open to the public, will be held on June 20 at the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University and the Antiquities Authority. Details on the Antiquities Authority website

The public structure discovered in Lod. Photo: Assaf Peretz, Antiquities Authority
Yair Rabivo with a coin discovered in the excavation of the building
Yair Rabivo with a coin discovered in the excavation of the building. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
Mayor's visit to the site
Mayor's visit to the site. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
Site researcher Moore Wiesel.
Website researcher Moore Wiesel. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
The treasure discovered in the foundations of the building
The treasure discovered in the foundations of the building. Photo: Dafna Gazit, Antiquities Authority
Archaeologist Shahar Crispin holds the hoard of coins after finding it.  Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
Archaeologist Shahar Crispin holds the hoard of coins after finding it. Photo: Yuli Schwartz, Antiquities Authority
The public structure discovered in Lod
The public structure discovered in Lod. Photo: Assaf Peretz, Antiquities Authority

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