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Burial inscriptions exposed in Zippori

1,700-year-old Burial inscriptions exposed in Zippori


At an ancient cemetery in Moshav Zippori in the North of Israel, three Burial inscriptions written in Aramaic and Greek have recently been revealed.  Aramaic was the everyday language used by the Jews during the Mishnah and Talmud periods and the Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as “rabbis” but whose names have still to be deciphered. Greek was also spoken by some at that time and that is the reason that there are also inscriptions written in that language.


 inscriptions uncovered in Zippori

 Copyright: Miki Peleg, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

Dr. Motti Aviram from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology has stated that the epitaphs are important due to the fact that they reflect the day to day life and culture of the Jews of Zippori.


The Greek inscription at Zippori

Copyright: Miki Peleg, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority


Zippori was the original capital of the Galilee that lasted from the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty right up until Tiberias was established in the first century CE. The city of Zippori continued to be important and later was where Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi lived and where he compiled the Mishnah.

A rich and diverse Jewish life continued at that time and this was shown by the many ritual baths that have been revealed during excavations, however at the same time Roman culture was evident as reflected in the paved streets and design of the town, with its theater, bathhouses and colonnaded main roads.

And interesting and surprising inscription was also found that showed that one of the deceased was called the “Tiberian” which could mean that he was a person from Tiberias who was brought to Zippori for burial as a result of the import work being carried out by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi.

Another Epitaph found was for the first time in Zippori the word le-olam (forever) which means that the burial place of the deceased shall be his forever and would never be taken from him. To date this inscription had only been known from inscriptions found at Beit She’arim and other places.  Both the above inscriptions were followed by the Hebrew word ‘Shalom”



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