SARDIS Page 3
Archaeological expeditions in sardis
Some of the important finds from the site of Sardis are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Manisa, including Late Roman mosaics and sculpture, a helmet from the mid-6th century BC, and pottery from various periods.
By the 19th century, Sardis was in ruins, showing construction chiefly of the Roman period. Early excavators included the British explorer George Dennis, who uncovered an enormous marble head of Faustina the Elder, wife of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. Found in the precinct of the Temple of Artemis, it probably formed part of a pair of colossal statues devoted to the Imperial couple. The 1.76 metre high head is now kept at the British Museum.
The first large-scale archaeological expedition in Sardis was directed by a Princeton University team led by Howard Crosby Butler between years 1910–1914, unearthing a temple to Artemis, and more than a thousand Lydian tombs. The excavation campaign was halted by World War I, followed by the Turkish War of Independence, though it briefly resumed in 1922. Some surviving artifacts from the Butler excavation were added to the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
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Byzantine Church in sardis
A new expedition known as the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis was founded in 1958 by G.M.A. Hanfmann, professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Harvard University, and by Henry Detweiler, dean of the Architecture School at Cornell University. Hanfmann excavated widely in the city and the region, excavating and restoring the major Roman bath-gymnasium complex, the synagogue, late Roman houses and shops, a Lydian industrial area for processing electrum into pure gold and silver, Lydian occupation areas, and tumulus tombs at Bin Tepe
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Since 1958, both Harvard and Cornell Universities have sponsored annual archeological expeditions to Sardis. These excavations unearthed perhaps the most impressive synagogue in the western diaspora yet discovered from antiquity, yielding over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscriptions as well as numerous mosaic floors. (For evidence in the east, see Dura Europos in Syria.) The discovery of the Sardis synagogue has reversed previous assumptions about Judaism in the later Roman empire. Along with the discovery of the godfearers / theosebeis inscription from Aphrodisias, it provides indisputable evidence for the continued presence of Jewish communities in Asia Minor and their integration into general Roman life at a time when many scholars previously assumed that Christianity had eclipsed Judaism
Sardis Synagoque mosaics & wall decoration
The synagogue was a section of a large bath-gymnasium complex, that was in use for about 450–500 years. In the late 4th or 5th century, part of the bath-gymnasium complex was changed into a synagogue.
Bath & Gymnasium Complex