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Archaeological find sheds light on Switzerland's Jewish past

The ring found in Augusta Raurica depicts a ram's horn, a typical Jewish symbol

(Keystone Archive)

Swiss archaeologists have found what they believe is the oldest evidence of a Jewish presence in the country - a ring which may be 1,900 years old.

Officials in canton Aargau said on Friday that researchers excavating the former Roman town of Augusta Raurica had found the ring while digging at the site of a house dating from the second or third century.

The bronze finger ring bears the traditional seven-candle Jewish "menorah" symbol.

It also depicts a ram's horn, symbolizing Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year - and another mark that the archaeologists believe may represent the festival of Sukkoth, which celebrates the fall harvest.

The Augusta Raurica site at Kaiseraugst near Basel is the oldest Roman settlement on the River Rhine, and was founded in around 44 BC. By around 200 AD it had some 20,000 inhabitants, but the settlement declined from the late third century.

swissinfo with agencies


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