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Aerial view of Dura-Europos. Yale University Art Gallery, Dura-Europos Collection
View of the Palmyrene Gate. Yale University Art Gallery, Dura-Europos Collection
View of the excavation in the sixth season (1932–1933). Yale University Art Gallery, Dura-Europos Collection
View of the excavation in the sixth season (1932–1933). Yale University Art Gallery, Dura-Europos Collection

Dura-Europos: Excavating Antiquity

The archaeological site of Dura-Europos, in modern Syria, is a fascinating crossroads of ancient cultures. It is perhaps best known for the important finds unearthed during the excavations in the 1920s and 1930s sponsored by Yale University and the French Academy of Inscriptions and Letters. These discoveries included a shrine to the god Mithras, a synagogue whose assembly room walls were covered with painted biblical scenes, and one of the earliest Christian house churches. The paintings and sculpture from these buildings—and the over 12,000 artifacts of daily life excavated by the archaeologists now preserved at the Yale University Art Gallery—present a vivid picture of life in a Roman city in the third century A.D.