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Archaeology in Israel: The Magdala Stone

A Synagogue dating back to the Second Temple period was unearthed in archaeological explorations conducted at the construction site for a hotel on Migdal beach in 2009. Inside this Synagogue, one of the oldest ever found in Israel, was a large carved stone block that became known as the Magdala Stone. This ancient stone is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in Israel's history, and features the oldest representation of a menorah ever found. The block was likely carved by someone who had seen the menorah in the Temple, creating a special connection between the past and present.

The Magdala Stone is rectangular and features on the short side a seven-pronged menorah flanked with large jars and columns, on the long sides architectural carvings to give the feeling of being “inside” a Synagogue, and on the top a rosette design with six petals. The excavation director, Dina Avshalom-Gorni of the Israel Antiquities Authority, referred to the find as “exciting and unique,” and said, “This is the first menorah to be discovered in a Jewish context and that dates to the Second Temple period/beginning of the Early Roman period. We can assume that the engraving that appears on the stone, which the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered, was done by an artist who saw the seven-branched menorah with his own eyes in the Temple in Jerusalem. The synagogue that was uncovered joins just six other synagogues in the world that are known to date to the Second Temple period.”

Source: “One of the Oldest Synagogues in the World was Exposed at Migdal,” Israel Antiquities Authority
“The Magdala Stone,”