Robert S. MacLennan/Black Sea Project

Bless this house. This plaster fragment, found in the fifth/sixth-century Christian basilica but dating to several hundred years earlier (second to fourth century C.E.), contains writing in Hebrew and Greek letters; author Robert MacLennan’s drawing of the writing is at left. The fragment, which mentions “Jerusalem” (top line), appears to be part of a dedicatory inscription, by Hananiah of Bosporus ([H|]NNYH BWSPRTY). The writing on another fragment from the basilica has been reconstructed to read HBWH|[R], or “the one who has chosen.” It is possible that this second fragment is connected to the line that mentions Jerusalem in the first fragment. These two fragments, then, may be part of a single inscription: “The one who has chosen Jerusalem [God] will bless Hananiah from Bosporus.” If so, this inscription may have been a dedicatory prayer asking God to bless one of the benefactors of the Chersonesus synagogue, or the synagogue itself.