Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima Excavation Reports

The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima Excavation Reports: Field O: The "Synagogue" Site

Marylinda Govaars
Marie Spiro
L. Michael White
Volume: 13
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 305
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima Excavation Reports
    Book Description:

    In the northwest quarter of the site of Caesarea Maritima is Field O, the location known as "the synagogue site and Jewish Quarter." Although excavated in 1956 and 1962, archaeologists and scholars researching the excavation results have been limited to seeing a brush-choked patch of excavated ruins, viewing a few artifacts in museums, and to the frustrating examination of the confusing, often contradictory published preliminary reports. For whatever reason, there was no final report published and there were no published photographs, site plans, or plans of the structures. This lack of clear understanding threatened to keep the site out of the corpus of synagogue sites forever. Now comprehensive research has discovered previously unknown records from the 1962 excavations and produced a comparative study of the 1945/46, 1956/62, and 1982/84 excavation photographs and the complete findings from the Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima survey and excavation seasons. Included for the first time are a site plan of the excavated remains and reconstruction drawings of the excavated structures.

    eISBN: 978-0-89757-014-5
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Robert J. Bull
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. List of Tables
    (pp. xvi-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xvii)
  8. [Map]
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
  9. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    The “synagogue” site at Caesarea Maritima¹ has drawn little or no interest from archaeologists, synagogue architecture specialists, and Jewish scholars since the early 1960s. The reason for this lack of attention is simple: a final report for the “synagogue” site was never published, and therefore there were no plans or photographs of the structures to analyze, compare, interpret, or debate.² Now assembled in one place are the documents from the British Mandate period (1923–1948), the preliminary reports from the Hebrew University excavations in 1956 and 1962 (including previously unpublished information from one of the assistant directors), and the results...

  10. Chapter 1 Discovery and Investigations before 1948
    (pp. 5-22)

    When British explorer Lt. C. R. Conder visited Caesarea Maritima in April 1873, part of his work for the Survey of Western Palestine was to record a very detailed plan of the site (Conder and Kitchener 1882: 13–29). The map, (fig. 1), showed the general features of the site with its “Outer Wall of Roman Town,” the harbor, the theater, the hippodrome, and the High-level and Low-level aqueducts. The massive remains of the Crusader fortifications dominate the center of the site. There were no surface features or additional details noted or drawn in the area north of the north...

  11. Chapter 2 Investigations in the 1950s and 1960s Schwabe’s Study and Avi-Yonah’s Excavations
    (pp. 23-56)

    With the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, one immediate change was the abandonment of the Bosnian Muslim village at Caesarea. Consequently, burial in the Muslim cemetery north of the Crusader fortification ceased. Moreover, the practice of robbing stone from the ancient site for use elsewhere in Palestine and export abroad ended. The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) ended its activities.¹ South of the Roman theater, Kibbutz Sdot Yam² was founded. The kibbutz began cultivation of large tracts of land that had once supported the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. This modern plowing and planting of the fields...

  12. Chapter 3 The Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima 1982 and 1984 Seasons
    (pp. 57-102)

    In 1982, the Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima (JECM) made an application to the Department of Antiquities, Israel, for permission to re-excavate a location known to have been excavated prior to the JECM’s original 1971 twenty-year license.¹ One location in particular was the focus of the application: the site north of the Crusader fortifications, near the sea shore and just west of the JECM’s Field G, thought to be Avi-Yonah’s Hebrew University excavation area A (figs. 62–63). The location showed indications of having been excavated, but no plans or maps of what had been uncovered could be found after...

  13. Chapter 4 The Missing 1962 Excavation Site Plan
    (pp. 103-122)

    The work by the Joint Expedition in Field O ended at the close of the 1984 field season. The Joint Expedition published preliminary reports, including the 1982 JECM Field O site plan and the 1984 probe results (Bull et al. 1991; 1994). The research on Field O waited nearly twenty years before beginning anew; production of final publication for all the Joint Expedition’s findings was the catalyst. One of the nagging questions left unanswered about Field O concerned the lack of any drawing or site plan from Avi-Yonah’s 1962 excavations. A strong feeling that a 1962 excavation site plan existed...

  14. Chapter 5 Final Analysis and Conclusions
    (pp. 123-144)

    The available records of the archaeological work at the location commonly known as the “synagogue” site at Caesarea Maritima have been presented in chronological order, with the exception of Dunayevsky’s 1962 site plan. The chronological ordering has made it easier to understand who knew or wrote what about the site in comparison with discussion of the archaeological evidence. For instance, Ory did not take elevations in 1945/46; so when Schwabe wrote in 1950 about the inscriptions at the “synagogue” site, the spatial relationship of the various mosaic pavement fragments was given in relative terms (Schwabe 1950). Consequently, in 1960, when...

  15. Chapter 6 Field O Pavements
    (pp. 145-154)
    Marie Spiro

    There is no systematic study of the tessellated pavements in Field O. One of the reasons is that these pavements represented chance finds that were separated from their architectural and archaeological contexts. Another reason is that with the exception of Locus 1075 (figs. 5, 11, 70) all of them were relatively small undecorated or decorated fragments, some of which were important to investigators only in regard to the inscriptions they contained. It is fair to say that more attention was paid to their translation and interpretation than to their tessellated contexts, fabric, and descriptions.

    The meager written data contained in...

  16. Chapter 7 Inscriptions
    (pp. 155-176)
    L. Michael White

    Due to the nature of their discovery, as surveyed carefully above, the mosaic pavements containing inscriptions (some clearly Jewish in character) were among the first elements of the Caesarea “synagogue” site to receive attention. The first mosaic inscriptions were found and noted as early as 1932 (No. 2) and 1933 (No. 1), but were only studied, photographed, and consolidated by J. Ory in 1945–46, at which time another inscription (No. 3) was also uncovered. Report of these finds produced the first significant publications, notably the early articles by Schwabe (1950) and Sukenik (1949 and 1951), which associated the new...

  17. Appendix A: Avi-Yonah’s 1956 Report
    (pp. 177-178)
  18. Appendix B: Avi-Yonah’s 1960s Reports (Avi-Yonah 1960; 1963A; Avi-Yonah and Negev 1960)
    (pp. 179-184)
  19. Appendix C: Vardaman 1962 Field Notes Excavations in Area A
    (pp. 185-186)
  20. Appendix D: Detailed Descriptions of Photographs
    (pp. 187-196)
  21. Appendix E: Early Archaeological Reports, 1923–1946
    (pp. 197-220)
  22. Appendix F: Activities in Caesarea Maritima Field O
    (pp. 221-222)
  23. Appendix G: Reference Numbers for Walls, Surfaces and Features
    (pp. 223-226)
  24. Appendix H: Artifacts from Previous Excavations
    (pp. 227-234)
  25. Notes
    (pp. 235-272)
  26. Bibliography
    (pp. 273-283)
  27. Drawing and Photographic Credits
    (pp. 284-284)
  28. Index
    (pp. 285-288)