Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered ancient epitaphs in both Greek and Aramaic which date back to the first century.
CBN News reports that the inscriptions were found in a cemetery which is located in the ancient Galilean capital city of Zippori.
"Zippori was the first capital of Galilee from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty until the establishment of Tiberias in the first century CE. The city continued to be central and important later on," researchers explained in a press release announcing the discovery.
Four words which are part of the inscriptions were thus far able to be decoded. One word, in Greek, means “Jose,” a common Jewish name during the period, the three other words are Aramaic for “the Tiberian,” “forever,” and “rabbi.”
Motti Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology stated that “the Tiberian” could refer to the hometown of the deceased, Tiberias.
The word “forever” denotes that the deceased’s burial place will always belong to him. Scholars are unsure precisely what the word “rabbi” meant at the time of its inscription.
This discovery is important because it proves the existence of a Jewish community in the region from ancient times--something which the Palestinian Authority continually denies.
“The Jewish life in the city was rich and diverse as indicated by the numerous ritual baths (miqwe'ot) discovered in the excavation; while at the same time the influence of Roman culture was also quite evident as reflected in the design of the town with its paved streets, colonnaded main roads, theater and bathhouses. The wealth of inscriptions from the cemeteries attests to the strong Jewish presence and the city's social elite in the late Roman period," researchers concluded.
Publication date: January 29, 2016