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Dates Excavated:

1. 1971
2. 1972-1978
3. 1982-1990


1. Dan Urman
2. Muni Ben-Ari and Shmuel (Sami) Bar-Lev
3. Zvi Uri Ma’oz, Ann Killebrew, and Rachel Hachlili

Archaeological Information: Stratum V- Stratum IVA-B

Date of Building Construction:

Phase I: late 4th century -early 5th century [700]
Phase II: early 6th century [701]
Phase III: early 7th century[702]

Place of Building in Settlement:
On the edge of the village, at its lowest point. [703]

Building Description:
Phase I or Synagogue A (Stratum V): This is a basilica with two rows of three columns and two engaged pillars attached to the northern interior wall. Foundations for a raised platform were found by the south wall. The main entrance was in the north wall and on the south side of the east wall there was a door leading into an annex. Around the walls were two tiers of benches and the floor was covered with white plaster (Floor 1). 30 cm below this floor, remains of a beaten earth surface were found (Floor 0), occasionally with a white wash, probably to level the surface for the synagogue building. Phase II or Synagogue B (Stratum IVA): The building was lengthened on the north side to a trapezoidal shape with two rows of four columns. Benches of inferior quality were added along the new walls. The entrances in the north and east walls were kept, and there might have been another entrance in the west wall.[704] By the south wall was a Torah shrine and bemah on a raised platform with two steps leading up to it. Behind the bemah was a narrow space that could be entered by two doors each 70 cm wide, possibly a genizah. The floor of the building was covered in colorful mosaics (Floor 2). The central nave may have been two stories high, with a clerestory with rectangular windows. The gabled roof was covered with terracotta roof tiles. Phase III or Synagogue B (Stratum IVB): The mosaic floor was replaced by a white plaster floor (Floor 3). Three low walls were built directly on top of the mosaic floor, probably to provide additional support for the clerestory walls. The remodeling was possibly necessitated by the sinking of the building, especially in the southwest corner of the hall.

Maps and Plans

Other Materials

First Deposit

Date Excavated: 1983

Deposit Location:

In the rubble fill behind benches along the northern wall.

Archaeological Information:

Synagogue B, stratum IVA, L1076, Baskets 260, 276, 277, 280, 296, 298, 304, 307, and 317

Certain association with the building itself? Yes

Deposit Retrievable? No

Deposit Type: IB6

Deposit Description:

125 coins were found dispersed in the rubble fill below the upper step and behind the lower step of the two-tiered added benches, along the interior face of the northern wall.[705] This section was added when the building was lengthened in its second phase, thus the coins belong to this later phase of the use of the synagogue building.

Container Present? No

Description of Coins:
The coins found in this deposit were never published. Ma’oz and Killebrew mention in their 1988 article that “120 small bronze coins” were found, of which the latest date to “the reign of the Byzantine emperor Anastasios I, who ruled from 498 to 518 CE.” 125 coins are stored at the IAA that were excavated in 1983 at Qasrin, from “Locus 1076.” Based on their identification, we can assume these are the coins found behind the benches. 90 of these coins could be read and have been provided here in Fig. 13. The coins range in date from 337 CE to 518 CE, with the number of coins in the deposit growing over time. The minting places of a majority of the coins could not be read, but the bulk seems to have come from Constantinople. One coin, attributed to Zeno (474-491 CE), might be an imitation coin, based on its irregular 3 o’clock axis.

Other Images

Conspectus Table:

Conspectus table Qasrin, Deposit 1. This table can be seen in full screen by clicking the icon on the bottom right. For more details on the specific coins in each row, please hover over the numbers.

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Second Deposit

Date Excavated: 1978 with possible additions in 1984

Deposit Location:

Below the plaster floor of the second phase synagogue, in the southeastern corner

Archaeological Information:

Synagogue B, Stratum IVB, below Floor 3

Certain association with the building itself? Yes

Deposit Retrievable? No

Deposit Type: IIB5

Deposit Description:

In May 1978, 82 coins were found grouped together, directly below the plaster 3 floor of Stratum IVB, close to the south-eastern column and the northeast corner of a raised platform inside the building.[706] During the excavations in the 1970s and 1980s, 27 coins were found in the synagogue. Of those, the only one from the same time span of the hoard was found very close by (IAA 22870, follis of Justin II, 570/571 CE). Therefore, Ariel believes it is possible that this coin also originally belonged to the hoard, even though the first excavations did not go beneath the upper floor.[707] During the 1984 season, additional probes were conducted under the floor along the southern wall of the building. On August 28, 1984, a small cut was made along the northern edge of the raised platform, touching the southeastern column base, to fill the probe with concrete to stabilize the pillar for reconstruction purposes (Locus 1210).[708] A matrix of small stones and compacted earth was found under the column base, acting as foundation fill. In this matrix, two more coins were discovered, undoubtedly, according to Ariel, part of the hoard.[709] This brings the total to 84 or 85 coins.

Container Present? No, but there could have been. [710]

Description of Coins:
Ariel published a limited catalogue of these coins in 1996, as “a hoard of Byzantine folles.” He mentions that of the 82 coins found in 1978, two are missing at the IAA. However, two other coins found in 1984 were added to the deposit. According to the article, the coins cover a period of 544/545 to 607/608 CE. In the IAA database, a list of 82 coins could be located coming from this deposit. The coins range in date from 544 to 608 CE and all are folles (75 coins) or half-folles (7 coins). Most were minted under Justin II (39%)[711] or Maurice Tiberius (22%).[712] All the coins come from eastern mints. This deposit is clearly younger than the one found behind the eastern benches of the building.

Conspectus Table:

Conspectus table Qasrin, Deposit 2. This table can be seen in full screen by clicking the icon on the bottom right. For more details on the specific coins in each row, please hover over the numbers.

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– Hüttenmeister F. & Reeg G., 1977, Die Antiken Synagogen in Israel, 2 vols., Wiesbaden: L. Reichert, pp. 357-358
– Ma’oz Z., 1980, “Qasrin,”, in: The Jewish Settlement and Synagogues in the Golan, Jerusalem: The Society for the Protection of Nature, pp. 22-25 (Hebrew)
– Chiat M., 1982, Handbook of Synagogue Architecture, Chico: Scholars Press, pp. 267-269
– Ma’oz Z. & Killebrew A., 1985, “Qasrin,” in: Israel Exploration Journal, Vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 289-293
– Ilan Z. and Damati E., 1985, “Merot,” in: Hadashot Arkheologiot, Vol. 86, pp. 10-11 (Hebrew)
– Ma’oz Z. & Killebrew A., 1988, “Ancient Qasrin: Synagogue and Village,” in: Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 5-19
– Killebrew A. & Ma’oz Z., 1993, “Qasrin,” in: NEAEHL, pp. 1219-1224
– Urman D., 1995, “Public Structures and Jewish Communities in the Golan Heights,” in: Urman D. & Flesher P. (eds.), Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery, Vol. 2, Leiden: Brill, pp. 463-481
– Ariel D.T., 1996, “A Hoard of Byzantine Folles from Qasrin,” in: ‘Atiqot, Vol. 29, pp. 69-76
– Dauphin C. 1998, La Palestine Byzantine: Peuplement et Population, Oxford, Vol. 3, pp. 653-654
– Ariel D.T., 2002, “The Coins from the Surveys and Excavations of Caves in the Northern Judean Desert,” in: ‘Atiqot, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 298
– Killebrew A., Grantham B., and Fine S., 2003, “A ‘Talmudic’ House at Qasrin: On the Use of Domestic Space and Daily Life During the Byzantine Period,” in: Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 66, No. 1-2, pp. 59-72
– Milson D., 2007, Art and Architecture of the Synagogue in Late Antique Palestine: in the Shadow of the Church, Leiden/Boston, pp. 447-452
– Spigel C., 2012, Ancient Synagogue Seating Capacities: Methodology, Analysis and Limits, Mohr Siebeck, pp. 288-293
– Hachlili R., 2013, Ancient Synagogues: Archaeology and Art: New Discoveries and Current Research, Leiden: Brill, pp. 79-111, 135, 137, 159, 181, 195, 465, 478, 552, 595-597
– Ahipaz N., 2015, The Custom of the Ritual Burial of Coins in Synagogues, MA thesis, pp. 47-52 (Hebrew)


– The Bornblum Eretz Israel Synagogues Website:
– Virtual World Project:


[700] Based on pottery found between Floor 0 and Floor 1 (see below).

[701] Based on the dates of the coins found behind the added benches inside the synagogue hall (see below).

[702] Based on the coins found deposited directly below Floor 3 (see below). However, this would assume that the deposit was placed inside the synagogue before Floor 3 was put in. Ariel wonders if this deposit could have been placed there after the floor was laid: that Floor 3 was disturbed at this spot by the later deposition of these coins. If this is the case, then the coin deposit is not a good indicator for the exact date of Stratum IVB. (Ariel 1996, p. 71). Furthermore, it also changes the interpretation of the function of the deposit (see below).

[703] The synagogue was discovered by Gottfried Schumacher in 1884 and surveyed by Shmaryahu Gutman in 1967 and Dan Urman in 1970, who started excavations in 1971 (Ahipaz 2015, p. 47).

[704] Ma’oz and Killebrew claim there was a door opening in the west wall (Killebrew and Ma’oz 1993, p. 1220), while Urman states that he found no evidence of this (Urman 1995, p. 465, footnote 206).

[705] Ma’oz and Killebrew 1988, p. 18, footnote 5, however, mentions 120 coins and Killebrew and Ma’oz 1993, p. 1221 mentions 180 coins. This last number is likely an error, based on the coins found at the IAA. The coins were found in the fill behind the lower bench, but below the upper bench, where the upper bench of the two-tiered bench was missing (see images). No upper bench stones were removed in the areas where they were still in situ, so it is possible that more coins are still hidden there (personal communication Zvi Ma’oz).

[706] Ariel remarks that “at the time of discovery, no attempt was made to ensure that all the coins were retrieved, nor was the hoard’s stratigraphic relationship with the synagogue’s floor examined” (Ariel 1996, p. 69). In other words, more coins could have been deposited in this spot and have not been found (yet).

[707] Ariel 1996, p. 69.

[708] Personal communication Zvi Ma’oz.

[709] Ariel 1996, p. 69.

[710] Ariel 1996, p. 69: “The coins were in good condition and, as corrosion was minimal, had not adhered to each other. Apparently, they had been deposited together, perhaps in a perishable container.” Ariel interprets the deposit as an emergency hoard, possibly hidden in a small pit in the floor on the eve of the Persian invasion of 614 CE.

[711] This percentage can even be as high as 65%, as Ariel notes, when taking into account the unidentified “Late Roman” coins that depict the emperors Justin and Sophia sitting on their thrones (for a total of 53 coins).

[712] The IAA has chosen to label some coins as “Late Roman”, or “Late Roman 1” as opposed to giving a potential emperor, as Ariel did in his publication. To the IAA, these specific labels have a meta-meaning and are numismatic terms, instead of archaeological terms. With Late Roman 1, for example, the IAA means forth century, with default dates 324-408 CE. When publishing coins using IAA information, one should always note that “Late Roman” means forth-fifth century CE, “Late Roman 1” forth century CE, “Late Roman 2” fifth century CE, and “Early Byzantine” anywhere in the sixth-seventh century CE, though specific dates have been given in the database as a construct for data entry purposes.