The Jewish Monument was discovered fortuitously in 1976, during renovation work.
A first excavation campaign, until October 1976, made it possible to release three quarters of the building. In the face of interest in the discovery, the authorities decided to conserve the vestiges with the construction of an archaeological crypt. A second excavation campaign, Easter 1977, made it possible to supplement exploration.
The district where the Monument is, is known for a long time to have been the district of the Jews of Rouen. The street which skirts the court of the Palais de Justice still bears the name of ' Rue aux Juifs'. The district is known to have been called in the Middle Ages the ' vicus judeorum'. Its proximity to the western door of the city (Door Massacres, our Gros-Horloge nowdays) is easy to understand, for it is there where the shopping area uses to be.
We found other vestiges of this Jewish past of Rouen. Right before the discovery of the Monument, a cellar located in the same court indicates another stone-built house. In the same way, one of the medieval cellars is preserved under the northern wing of the Palais de Justice. Lastly, a house was found other side of the Rue aux Juifs (indicated as having belonged to a Jew by the name of Bonnevie).
Documents on file also make it possible to better understand the past of this district. It is the accumulation of these elements which make it possible to allot the Monument to the Jews (its style is perfectly norman from Normandy).
The history of the Jews of Rouen was the subject of many studies, in particular that of Prof. Norman Golb.
We do not know when the first Jews settled in Rouen, perhaps in the Gallo-Roman period. Objects were found dating from the XIth century. They grew considerably rich by the conquest of England. William the Conqueror installed himself in London. They will remain flourishing for all the Anglo-Norman period. After the first warning at the time of the departure of the first crusade, they will undergo expulsions of Philippe Auguste and especially of Philippe the Fair (1306). They will return then to Rouen to be driven out of it periodically.