Decorated Tiles excavated by the Yale University Expedition to Dura Europos, Syria. Photographs from the archive of the Yale Art Museum.

- Tiles from the Synagogue


A significant number of decorated tiles were discovered during the excavation of the synagogue at Dura Europos.


"Inscription no. 1a on Tile A. Kraeling (1956:263) published the translation of the text. [This house was built in the year 556 (in the Seleucid Era), this corresponding to the second year of Philip Julius Caesar (AD 244/245); in the eldership of the priest Samuel son of Yeda'ya, the Archon. Now those who stood in charge of this work were: Abram the Treasurer, and Samuel son of Sapharah, and ..... the proselyte. With a willing spirit they (began to build) in the fify-sixth year; and they sent..... and they made hast.... and they labored in .... a blessing from the elders and from all the children of ..... they labored and toiled.... Peace to them, and to their wives and children all.]


Inscription no. 1, Tile B continues the text of Tile A. [And like all those who labored (were their brethren....), all of them, who with their money.... and in the eager desire of the souls.... Their reward, all whatever..... that the world which is to come..... assured to them... on every sabbath.... spreading out (their hands) in it (in prayer)].


Greek inscription number 24. Kraeling (1956:27) published the translation of this text. [Samuel, son of Sapharas: may he be remembered! He built this (building) thus (as you see)].


Greek inscription number 25. Kraeling (1956:278) published the translation of the text. [Abram and Arsaces and Silas and Salmanes assisted.] It is interesting to note that the name Arsaces is Iranian.


Tile inscription number 23. Kraeling (1956:277) published the translation of text 23. [Samuel son of Idaeus, elder of the Jews, built it].


Kraeling (1956:46) reports that 14 tiles were decorated with the image of grapes.


Kraeling (1956:47) reports that 22 tiles were decorated with the image of cones; most Kraeling suggested that these are cedar cones though pine cones would be another possibilty.


Kraeling (1956:42) reports that 20 tiles were decorated with the image of Pomegranates; 4 tiles show 3 fruits and 17 tiles show a cluster of 4 fruits.

Kraeling (1956:44) reports that 14 tiles were decorated with the image of a Bird within a wreath, pecking at fruit. This tile is clearly a bird and grapes.


Kraeling (1956:44) reports that 14 tiles were decorated with the image of a Bird within a wreath, pecking at fruit.


Kraeling (1956:42) reports that 21 tiles were decorated with the image of a Centaur.


Kraeling (1956:42) reports that 17 tiles were decorated with the image of a Capricorn.


Kraeling (1956:42) reports that 5 tiles were decorated with the image of a deer.


Several tiles.


Several tiles.


Tile with a Greek inscription (no. 26) incised onto the surface that Kraeling(1956:Plate XII.2) published. [Orobazus] This is an Iranian name.


Rooftiles decorated with faces.


Kraeling (1956:41) reports that 23 tiles were decorated with the image the "personification of vegetation."

Kraeling, Carl H.
1956 The Synagogue. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Webpage constructed 29 September 2014