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Discovery and Dating of the Ostia Synagogue

From the 1960 Olympics to archival discoveries, an evolving story

The Ostia Synagogue is famous worldwide for its great antiquity and its importance to the Jewish community of Ancient Rome. Yet few people are aware of the circumstances surrounding its discovery. In this series of posts, the current field director of the synagogue excavations, Mary Jane Cuyler, gives us a glimpse of the synagogue’s history and shows how the evolution of archaeological method has expanded our knowledge of this exceptional building.

What does the discovery of the Ostia synagogue have to do with the 1960 Rome Olympics? Quite a bit, as it turns out. The…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Monday, August 28, 2017


Archaeologists were shocked by the 1961 discovery of a monumental structure at Ostia, well beyond the supposed "city…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Tuesday, August 29, 2017


In the early 1960's as excavators worked frantically to uncover the remains of Ostia's monumental synagogue, they…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Did you know that the Ostia synagogue discovery made headlines around the world? This 1962 article from the New York…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Thursday, August 31, 2017


Archaeological dating is its own adventure. In the early 1960s, when the synagogue was discovered, the net-like…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Thursday, August 31, 2017


In the 1960s, the black-and-white mosaics in Ostia's synagogue were declared "Hadrianic" in style (117-138 CE)….

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Saturday, September 2, 2017


At a main entrance to the synagogue we find a black and white mosaic with decorations that have long interested scholars…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Sunday, September 3, 2017


If you've been to the Jewish Museum in Rome recently, you've probably seen their video reconstructing the ancient Ostia…

Posted by Friends of Roman Ostia – FORO on Sunday, September 3, 2017


Related articles:
Sacred Space on the Shore: Ostia’s Synagogue by Mary Jane Cuyler

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