Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists discovered a first of its kind 1,500-year-old mother-of-pearl tablet inscribed
with a six-branched menorah near a Roman-era temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar.
According to Gendelman [Israel Antiques Authority archaeologist ] the small slab of mother-of-pearl, likely dating from the late Roman-Byzantine period of the 4th-5th centuries CE, “points to clear Jewish presence at Caesarea during this period.”
The tablet came from what was “probably some kind of box,” he added, “I can even say probably for a Sefer Torah,” the handwritten scroll containing the first five books of the Old Testament that lie at the heart of Jewish law.
It was found near the Augusteum, the temple dedicated to Herod’s patron Augustus, which dominated the harbor in antiquity. Gendelman and his team also found Augusteum’s altar and part of a Greek inscription that has yet to be studied. TimesofIsrael