Archaeological finds in Israel have shed light on Yavne, an ancient town that served as the retreat for Jewish authorities after the fall of Jerusalem during a rebellion against Roman rule.
The excavation unearthed ruins of a building with cups made of chalkstone, a material deemed appropriate for Jewish religious rites, pointing to the presence of the exiled Sanhedrin legislative assembly, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
Cited by the Roman historian Josephus, Yavne served as focal point of Jewish activity and thus holds a special place in Judaism.
According to Jewish scripture, the city also played a vital part in the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire circa 160 BCE.
It was also where the Sanhedrin was reconstituted with Roman consent at the end of the Second Temple period — a move that later led to the second century fighting in Jerusalem.
"This is a direct voice from the past, from the period when the Jewish leadership salvaged the remaining fragments from the fall of the (Jerusalem) Temple," the Authority said in a statement.
Also discovered near the site was a cemetery with dozens of graves, including sarcophagi, and more than 150 glass phials placed on top of the tombs, which the Authority said were probably used to store fragrant oils.