Archeologists unravel the mysteries of Perpignan’s Medieval Jewish Quarter

Recent excavations carried out by the Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives (INRAP) have unearthed a treasure trove of artefacts that should now make it possible for historians to reconstitute the medieval Jewish quarter of Perpignan

Heralded as a huge success for Perpignan’s heritage and religious tourism, these latest revelations have unearthed a wealth of information on what life was like in the former Jewish quarter of the town, known as “le Call”.

Between 1243 and 1493, Le Call provided shelter for up to 1000 people in what was then the outskirts of the developing city. It was believed that the area had only one water cistern and a dig in 1997 revealed the existence of a mikveh, or Jewish baths, located in the area around the Couvent des Dominicains.

Medieval water reservoir uncovered in the Couvent des Minimes Credits : ADLFI - Marichal, Rémi ; Rébé, Isabelle (2004)

The latest excavation on the corner between rue de l’Académie and rue Saint-François de Paule has unearthed a range of ceramics, giving historians an invaluable insight into the daily life of the Jewish occupants of the time.

Discoveries come more than 5 centuries after murders and looting swept through the area following the expulsion and massacre of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula.

Drawing of tiles uncovered during latest dig. Credits : ADLFI - Marichal, Rémi ; Rébé, Isabelle (2004)

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