Israel Antiquities Authority

Red, white, yellow and green plaster fragments from a wall painting were discovered among the remains of a slightly smaller building excavated directly beneath the Herodian synagogue. The building has been identified by the excavators as a Hasmonean-period synagogue—that is, dating to the end of the second or beginning of the first century B.C.E. An even earlier building dating to the end of the third or beginning of the second century B.C.E. was discovered below the Hasmonean synagogue. This Early Hellenistic-period building was only partly unearthed, and its whole plan is not known. It is clear, however, that it dictated the location and shape of the later synagogues, and it most probably existed during the Maccabean revolt in the 160s B.C.E.