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|THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF
Antiquity and Christian Origins
|L. Michael White, Director | 1 University Station C3450 | Austin, Texas 78712 | 512.232.1438 | 512.232.1439 fax
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History of the Synagogue Area, Ostia Antica
In 1960 construction began on a new highway serving Rome's Leondaro da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino. The highway would pass just south of the area where the planners thought the ancient city of Ostia ended. To their surprise, they discovered more ruins -- a series of buildings and even an ancient paved road.
By 1961 a preliminary excavation, the first of a series of four that would be conducted at the site over the next forty years, was underway. As the first work commenced, however, the excavators soon realized the significance of the unexpected find: An architectural fragment from one of the buildings bore an unmistakable symbol -- a menorah.
This building was the ancient synagogue of Ostia.
Between 1961 and 1985,
excavators would make further discoveries. The ancient road dated
to the time of the Severan emperors at the end of the second
C.E.-beginning of the third century C.E. In addition to the
synagogue, the excavators would also soon discover a series of street
front shops that faced onto the ancient road, a nymphaeum (fountain
complex), and a bath structure.
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