BAR Helps Shed Light on Priene Synagogue

Sidebar to: New Synagogue Excavations In Israel and Beyond

After more than a century in the archaeological shadows, the Priene synagogue on the western coast of Turkey is finally getting the attention it deserves, thanks to the financial support of BAR and its readers.

The late-antique synagogue, one of only three found in Asia Minor (see sidebar), was first excavated at the very end of the 19th century by German scholars but was misidentified as a “house church.” It was only when pioneering Israeli archaeologist E.L. Sukenik was looking through the excavation’s published reports three decades later that the structure was accurately identified as a synagogue. Additional excavations, however, were never undertaken.

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