Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gold Scroll Discovered: Earliest Evidence Of Jewish Inhabitants In Austria

Date:
March 18, 2008
Source:
University of Vienna
Summary:
Archaeologists have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child's grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of Jewish inhabitants in present-day Austria.

The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of Jewish inhabitants in present-day Austria.
Credit: Copyright University of Vienna, Institute of Prehistory and Early History

Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child’s grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn.

Related Articles


This amulet shows that people of Jewish faith lived in what is today Austria since the Roman Empire. Up to now, the earliest evidence of a Jewish presence within the borders of Austria has been letters from the 9th century CE. In the areas of the Roman province of Pannonia that are now part of Hungary, Croatia and Serbia, gravestones and small finds attest to Jewish inhabitants even in antiquity.

Jews have been settling in all parts of the ancient world at the latest since the 3rd century BCE. Particularly following the second Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire, the victorious Romans sold large numbers of Jews as slaves to all corners of the empire. This, coupled with voluntary migration, is how Jews also might have come to present-day Austria.

Child’s grave

The one or two year old child, which presumably wore the silver amulet capsule around its neck, was buried in one of around 300 graves in a Roman cemetery which dates back to the 2nd to 5th century CE and is situated next to a Roman estate ("villa rustica"). This estate was an agricultural enterprise that provided food for the surrounding Roman towns (Carnuntum, Györ, Sopron).

The gravesite, discovered in 1986 in the region of Seewinkel, around 20 kilometres from Carnuntum, was completely excavated between 1988 and 2002 by a team led by Falko Daim, who is now General Director of the Roman-German Central Museum of Mainz, with the financial backing of the Austrian Science Fund FWF and the Austrian state of Burgenland. All in all, more than 10,000 individual finds were assessed, most notably pieces of glass, shards of ceramic and metal finds. The gold amulet, whose inscription was incomprehensible at first, was only discovered in 2006 by Nives Doneus from the Institute for Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna.

The inscription on the amulet is a Jewish prayer is: ΣΥΜΑ ΙΣΤΡΑΗΛ ΑΔΩNΕ ΕΛΩΗ ΑΔΩN Α

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.

Greek script, Hebrew language

Greek is common with amulet inscriptions, although Latin and Hebrew and amulet inscriptions are known. In this case, the scribe's hand is definitely familiar with Greek. However, the inscription is Greek in appearance only, for the text itself is nothing other than a Greek transcription of the common Jewish prayer from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy, 6:4): "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one."

Amulet to protect against demons

Other non-Jewish amulets have been found in Carnuntum. One gold- and three silver-plated amulets with magical texts were found in a stone sarcophagus unearthed west of the camp of the Roman legion, including one beseeching Artemis to intervene against the migraine demon, Antaura. Amulets have also been found in Vindobona and the Hungarian part of Pannonia. What is different about the Halbturn gold amulet is its Jewish inscription. It uses the confession to the center of Jewish faith and not magic formulae.

The gold-plated artefact from Halbturn can be viewed from 11 April 2008 onwards as part of the "The Amber Road – Evolution of a Trade Route" exhibition in the Burgenland State Museum in Eisenstadt.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vienna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Vienna. "Gold Scroll Discovered: Earliest Evidence Of Jewish Inhabitants In Austria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080316124416.htm>.
University of Vienna. (2008, March 18). Gold Scroll Discovered: Earliest Evidence Of Jewish Inhabitants In Austria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080316124416.htm
University of Vienna. "Gold Scroll Discovered: Earliest Evidence Of Jewish Inhabitants In Austria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080316124416.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) — A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) — A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) — Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins