Hispanojewish Archaeology (2 vols.)

The Jews of Hispania in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages through Their Material Remains


In Hispanojewish Archaeology, Alexander Bar-Magen Numhauser provides the first book-length archaeological exploration of the Jewish presence in late antique and early medieval Hispania. Using epigraphic, numismatic, architectural, and other archaeological remains, this volume describes the multiple cultural expressions of a vibrant Jewish community that emerged as part of the Mediterranean Diaspora, becoming part of the wider Hispanian society. Part of this review includes a detailed examination of the Ilici (Elche, Spain) basilical building, interpreted by previous scholars as both a church and a synagogue, using published and hitherto unpublished material of its decades-long excavation. From the archaeological remains of this Hispanojewish presence a new picture emerges, challenging the traditional premises of the archaeological research on the late antique western Mediterranean.

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Alexander Bar-Magen Numhauser (b. 1987) is a researcher of late antique and medieval archaeology of Judaism in the western Mediterranean, publishing works in journals such as ANAS, and the 4th Tarraco Biennal conference proceedings (2019). He obtained his PhD in 2017 at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
List of Maps, Figures, Tables, Charts and Plates
Epigraphic Symbols
Map of the Hispanojewish World


Part 1 Introducing Jewish Hispania

1 Jews in Iberia, Out of History
 1 First Musings: Perez Bayer and the Real Academia de la Historia
 2 José Amador de los Ríos and the Aborted National History of Iberian Jews
 3 Jewish Archaeology in the Iberian Peninsula: Fidel Fita and His Contemporary Descendants
 4 Theoretical Basis for the Archaeology of the Jews

2 Jewish Voices from Stone: Jewish Epigraphy and Its Art from Hispania
 1 Balearica
 2 Baetica
 3 Cartaginensis
 4 Lusitania
 5 Tarraconensis
 6 Narbonensis (Septimania)
 7 Mauritania Tingitana
 8 Analysis of the Inscriptions
 9 Conclusions
 10 Appendix to Chapter 2

3 Jews from Their Objects: Ergology and Sites from Late Antique Hispania
 1 1st Century Coins from Iudaea in Hispania
 2 Decorated Oil Lamps
 3 Storage Stamp
 4 The Orihuela Stela
 5 The Mas Rimbau Menorah
 6 The Intaglio of Ammaia
 7 A Review of the Objects

4 The Elche Basin and Water Installations in Iberian Peninsula Synagogues
 1 Introduction
 2 Two Water Basins from Hispania
 3 Water Basins in the Mediterranean Jewish Sites in Late Antiquity
 4 The Water Installations in Medieval Fustat and the Iberian Peninsula
 5 What Were These Basins For? Evidence from Literary Sources
 6 The Water Basins in the Iberian Peninsula: A Summary

5 The Early Middle Ages: Dawn of Classical Sepharad
 1 A Supposed Hebrew Eighth-Century Coin from Al-Andalus
 2 Seven Jewish Inscriptions from the Early Middle Ages
 3 Conclusion

Part 2 The Ilici Basilical Synagogue Building

6 Archaeological Research in the Elche Basilical Building and Its Sources
 1 Location of the Alcudia de Elche and Its “Basilica”
 2 First Interventions
 3 The Discovery of the Elche Basilical Building: The Ibarra-Albertini Expedition and Publications
 4 Rediscovery of the Elche Basilical Building
 5 Reassessment and Review (1955–2005)
 6 Conclusions

7 Stratigraphic Sequencing and Architectural Features of Area B
 1 Introduction
 2 Main Area B
 3 Peripheral Sub-areas of B
 4 Features of the Basilical Building
 5 Phases of Area B

8 Description and Stratigraphic Sequencing of Area S (“Sacristía”)
 1 Introduction
 2 Delimitation of Area S
 3 Stratigraphic Relations of Area S
 4 Chronology of Area S

9 South of the “Basilica”: Areas T and C
 1 Introduction
 2 Definition of Areas T and C
 3 Stratigraphic Sequencing of Areas T and C
 4 Phases of Areas C and T
 5 Areas C and T as Part of the Site

10 The Northeastern “Palace” (Area P)
 1 Introduction
 2 Definition of Area P
 3 Stratigraphic Data from Area P
 4 Interpretation of Data: Phases and Use
 5 Conclusion

11 Interpreting the Ilici Synagogue
 1 Introduction
 2 The Pre-Domus Levels
 3 Pre-synagogue Domus
 4 The Synagogue of Ilici: Parallels and Liturgical Features
 5 The Church
 6 Abandonment Levels: The “Visigothic” Cemetery
 7 Adjacent Structures
 8 Reconstruction and Conclusion

12 Epilogue

Annex A: Areas and Codes
Annex B: Codification
Annex C: Stratigraphic Unit Catalogue
Annex D: Relation between the Re-excavation Catalogue of Materials and the Catalogue of Items from the Alcudia de Elche
Annex E: Isometric Plan and Reconstruction
Archival Documents
Ancient References
Onomastic Index
Index of Latin and Greek Words
Index of Hebrew Words
General Index
Scholars and postgraduate students interested in late antique Jewish archaeology, classicists and Roman/Early Medieval archaeologists interested in the study of Jewish material culture.
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