Focus is the University of Haifa's English-language newspaper covering news and features about Israel's
"University of the North" Published 3-4 times a year, by the Division of External Relations and Resource Development

 

 to FOCUS HomePage

AUTUMN 2005

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Synagogue/Church Controversy and a Digestive Amulet
Mark University’s Dig at Hippos-Sussita

The sixth season of the archeological excavation at Hippos-Sussita in northern Israel produced several surprises for the University’s archeologists. One was a lintel—did it belong to a synagogue or a church?
The find of a lintel bearing Jewish symbols that typified synagogues led to the initial conclusion that the public building being uncovered in the south-western residential quarter of Sussita was a synagogue. Jewish sources had indicated its very existence in this predominantly Greek city.
The archeologists were quick to discover, however, that it was actually a church. Prof. Arthur Segal, who heads the University's Zinman Institute of Archeology and who leads the Sussita Project, offered two possible explanations. One is that the structure could have served first as a synagogue and later been turned into a church. Second, the synagogue could have existed in close proximity to the church. Following the destruction of the former, the lintel was reused in the church.
The sixth season of excavations at Sussita have come to an end, and so Segal hopes the riddle will be solved in the seventh season in the summer of 2006.
The "digestive" cameo that was found hidden in one of the recently exposed rooms built along the southern wall of the North-East Church is actually an amulet. This good luck charm assures its wearer that he or she will have no stomach problems and easy digestion of food. The medallion, made of hematite (a semi-precious black stone) set in a gold frame, is beautifully executed, according to Segal. It has a Greek word engraved in its center - "Digest!"
As in previous seasons, two foreign teams joined the University in this season's dig. One team was from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the other from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Excavation work concentrated in the city center, mainly around the Forum. This summer, for the first time, the work expanded to the south-west segment of Hippos-Sussita, which was the city's main residential quarter.
This season, the archaeologists began to uncover a colonnaded street. Luckily enough, they managed after just a few days work to expose the two lower sections of a decorative gate. The likes of these, Segal exclaimed, have never before been exposed in any Roman city in Israel. The decorative gate signified the passageway from the more than four-meter-wide colonnaded street to the Forum.
Another find, this one from the north-west church area, is the fragment of a frieze in the Doric style of architecture, dating to the Hellenistic Era (2nd century BCE). It is one of the earliest architectural fragments of this kind ever unearthed in Israel. Segal surmised it must have belonged to the Hellenistic temple that stood in the very place where, hundreds of years later, a Byzantine church was erected.
The archeologist says that the Hellenistic temple rose to a height of 16 meters, a calculation based on the dimensions of an architectural fragment found reused in the walls of the Byzantine church. A smaller Roman temple, dating to the late 1st century BCE or beginning of the 1st century CE, was built over the remains of the Hellenistic one. A complete wine-press, located in a bloc of rooms, was also found just north of the north-west Church itself.

In This Issue:

The University Becomes a Little Like Annapolis (and West Point)

Supported Academic Learning Aids Students with Problems

Synagogue/Church Controversy and a Digestive Amulet
Mark University’s Dig at Hippos-Sussita

Golumbic Elected Israel’s 1st European Fellow

Prof. Asher Koriat Is 1st Recipient of Prestigious German Award

Intelligence Corps Wisely Chooses the University

Sweating Before an Audience—Working to Control a Phobia

Michael Wainer—University’s First Vice President for Finance
and Business Development

Prof. Eli Salzberger Elected Next Dean of Law Faculty

University Responds to Tulane Students' Needs

A Look Back at Graduation 2005

33rd Board of Governors Opens with Song and Story

University Honors Five with Honorary Doctorate
First Egyptian to Conduct in Israel Adds Highlight to Ceremony

Social Responsibility Reflected in a Wide Pool

New Recanati Lab Dedicated

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

| All Rights reserved to the University of Haifa, Mt Carmel, Haifa 31905 | WebDesign: Iris Mishly-Garin | Contact Us | PR Site | Search | BACK ISSUES |

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This electronic version contains excerpts.  For a free subscription to the printed edition, write:  Editor, Focus, Division of Public Affairs & Resource Development , University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel - Haifa 31905, Israel