The Residence Of A Rich Jewish person

Paradoxically, this assumption was submitted first, shortly after the discovery, by Dominique Bertin, the archaeologist in charge of the site. Pushed aside for a long time by other assumptions, it returned to the fore front of the scene and is supported by most of the archaeologists.

It is based on the following arguments:

- the Monument forms part of a tradition of norman construction in Normandy: that of the well-known halls on a floor in every Anglo-Norman house.

- the lower part (often called cellarium in the Latin texts) could be a domestic part. One found there traces of a kitchen at the time of the archaeological excavation.

- the part on the floor (called Aula) would be the principal part: part of life for the Master and his family.

- the narrowness of the staircase is explained by the needs for safety in this disturbed period.

- There was in Rouen, in the XIIth century, extremely rich Jews, thanks to the conquest of England and the favours of William the Conqueror.

Little argument can be advanced against this assumption:

- It cannot be a house since it is a school...

- It cannot be a house since it is a synagogue...

- graffiti in Hebrew indicates that the monument was attended by well-read Jews.

- the lower stage cannot be a kitchen for there is no chimney (foot-note: since at least Violet le duc in the XIXth century, one
knows that chimneys began to appear only in the XIIIth century in Normandy!).

- the Monument is too rich for a house.

Other assumptions :SYNAGOGUE   SCHOOL