All uncredited photos courtesy of the author

A niche was built into the southern wall of the Deir Aziz synagogue to house the ark for the Torah scrolls. The 12-foot semi-circular apse interrupts the stone benches and extends beyond the rectangular perimeter of the building. A later wall was built over this area (see photo), but excavators have since cleared it away. Although it was surely located in the southern wall so that the ark would face in the direction of Jerusalem, it is not clear why it was placed toward the western end of this wall, rather than in the center.