Israeli archaeologists have uncovered one of the earliest depictions of a menorah, the seven-branched candelabra that has come to symbolize Judaism, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Friday.
The menorah was engraved in stone around 2,000 years ago and found in a synagogue recently discovered by the Sea of Galilee.
Pottery, coins and tools found at the site indicate the synagogue dates to the period of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem, where the actual menorah was kept, said archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The artist might have seen the menorah during a pilgrimage and then recreated it in the synagogue, she suggested.
A small number of depictions of the menorah have surfaced from the same period, she said, but this one was unique because it was inside a synagogue and far from Jerusalem, illustrating the link between Jews around Jerusalem and in the Galilee to the north.
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