Eric Meyers

The moment of discovery. Excavation staff and workers using cables and a two-ton winch begin to lift the ark fragment from its position in a late Roman prayer platform or bema. Toppled from the third century A.D. Torah Shrine at Nabratein by an earthquake, the half-ton block was apparently reverentially buried in the bema of the rebuilt synagogue. Although the stone was discovered by the excavators in 1980, its front surface was hidden; only when the stone was lifted could it be recognized as a unique and exquisitely carved ark pediment.