Courtesy Archaeological Exploration of Sardis

Weighing the evidence. Dye sacks were probably hung from this metal weighing device (lower left) that excavators found in a store they determined was Jewish.

Artifacts marked with religious symbols helped archaeologists identify the religion of over half of the shops’ occupants. Crosses on a little terra-cotta container for liquids or oil called an ampulla (top right), a copper alloy ring (shown middle right) and a piece of redware plate (bottom right), for example, indicate that Christians ran the restaurants in E1, E2, W1 and W2. Two menorahs (one shown top left) marked the inside of a Jewish dye and paint shop’s entrance. Though some of these religious symbols, such as the menorahs, were large, apparently none of them was considered offensive; all were left unmarred, like the cross on the weighing device.