Jewish gravestones from as early as the 12th century were found in southwest Germany.
Some 20 Jewish gravestones were found during excavations for planned housing construction next to the wall of the old Jewish cemetery in the community of Mainz. The stones are among the oldest ever found in the Rheinland-Pfalz region, experts said.
Construction plans have been halted pending a decision from the Berlin-based Orthodox Rabbinical Council. If the site is determined to be a graveyard and not just a repository for stones, it may affect building plans.
The president of the Jewish community, Stella Schindler-Siegreich, said an investigation of objects found at the site will be conducted to determine whether bodies had been buried there. An on-site meeting held recently included representatives of the Jewish community, the city, the rabbinical conference, landmarks preservationists and construction foreman.
Jewish studies expert Andreas Lehnardt of Mainz told a German news agency that the find was a "sensation" and some of the stones included the names of famous learned rabbis.