Archéologie du Judaïsme
by Eliott Maintigneux
The presence of Jewish people, although it was considered a minority, is very old in France and Europe : it dates back to the first centuries of our era. Jewish people were integrated in cities and villages, participating to the common life of mainly christian populations. Merchants, bankers, doctors, horse-dealers, but also prominent intellectuals, the Jewish people of the Middle Ages actively participated in the society of which they were an important component. But between the 13th and 15th century, Jewish people are being expelled out of most European countries.
Yet, the European history, and particularly the French history, reduces or ignores this Jewish presence. Today, thanks to archeology, especially preventive archeology, we find traces of the forgotten Jewish communities, in France but also in Germany, Spain, Italy or elsewhere. During the past two decades, multiples discoveries have permitted the enrichment of the cartography of the Jewish presence in Europe. Every archeological dig permits to give life back to this history that was, until then, only accessible through texts. Archeologists, but also epigraphists, anthropologists and historians, are studying the floor’s archives in order to revive those communities whose existence has largely been ignored until now.
We want to meet them, in order to describe a new history of the Jewish presence in Europe.
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