In 2001 the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin received a five-year permit from the Soprintendenzi of Ostia Antica to study the ancient synagogue and its urban environment. None of the previous excavations, for example, were ever systematically published. Thus in 2001 the University of Texas created the Ostia Synagogue Masonry Analysis and Excavation Project (OSMAP) with two goals:
• The first goal is supplement the archaeological material gathered during previous excavations with new data.
Consequently, the OSMAP team adapted a methodology currently used on other sites for measuring, drawing, elevating, digitally mapping, and analysing the masonry techniques used in the construction and repair Roman buildings. OSMAP hopes to use this data to refine our understanding of the building’s phases — a topic which is hotly debated among archaeologists, social historians, and scholars of ancient Mediterranean religion.
• The second goal is thus to provide a definitive plan, architectural history, and digital reconstruction of the synagogue and its neighboring buildings.