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1,500 year Old Byzantine Mosaic Discovered in Judean Hills

16 February, 201116 February, 2011 0 comments Historical Sites Historical Sites

A small Byzantine basilica that was in use between the 5th and 7th centuries c.e. was discovered southwest of Jerusalem last week. A beautifully preserved mosaic floor was uncovered at the site. According to the site leader the mosaic is very well preserved and is of a very high crafsmanship and depicts peacocks, lions, foxes, and fish.


Several months ago the IAA discovered that antiquity thieves were stealing from the ruins, known as Horbat Madras,  and in December the excavation began.  


Initially it was believed that the structure was  a synagogue but further excavation revealed stones carved with crosses. The church was constructed on top of another structure, some 500 years older. This structure is thought to be Jewish.


According to the Israel Antiquities Authorites press release "Hirbet Madras is known as the site of a large, important Jewish community from the Second Temple period until its destruction during the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE.
Among the remains at the site are buildings, caves, agricultural instillations and extensive underground hiding tunnels. The site was identified by a number of scholars as the location of a major community."


Funding for the site is being sought so that the church can be opened to the public.


For more information visit: Israel Antiquities Authority


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