The Origins of Judaism Archaeological Project

The Origins Project has started by looking at some of the most common finds relating to Jewish practice.

Research Areas

The observance of Ritual immersion, for example, is found in the form of close to a thousand ancient “mikva’ot”—stepped pools used for the ritual purification of both men and women.

Tefillin, also known as phylacteries, is another practice documented in dozens of leather cases containing parchment slips inscribed with Biblical passages, found at Qumran and elsewhere in the Judean Desert. 

Chalkstone vessels, viewed as immune to ritual impurity, have been found at hundreds of sites throughout Israel, and provide evidence for the extent to which the purity laws were observed.

And of course, kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws, are evidenced in the food remains uncovered in excavations, especially in the bones of animals, fish and fowl.