web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Major 1,500-Year-Old Church and Mosaic Discovered

This archaeological discovery will save Jews from living in homes built over the remains of a church.
Site of 1,500-year-old church and mosaic discovered north of Be'er Sheva.

Site of 1,500-year-old church and mosaic discovered north of Be'er Sheva.
Photo Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists digging where a new housing development is to be built have uncovered a 1,500-year-old church and magnificent mosaic with five inscriptions at Moshav Aluma, located between Be’er Sheva and Rehovot.

“An impressive basilica building was discovered at the site, 22 meters long and 12 meters wide,” said Dr. Daniel Varga, who directied the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“The building consists of a central hall with two side aisles divided by marble pillars. At the front of the building is a wide open courtyard (atrium) paved with a white mosaic floor, and with a cistern,” he explained. “Leading off the courtyard is a rectangular transverse hall (narthex) with a fine mosaic floor decorated with colored geometric designs; at its center, opposite the entrance to the main hall, is a twelve-row dedicatory inscription in Greek containing the names Mary and Jesus, and the name of the person who funded the mosaic’s construction.”

The main hall (the nave) has a colored mosaic floor adorned with vine tendrils to form forty medallions. The medallions contain depictions of different animals, including a zebra, leopard, turtle, wild boar, various winged birds and botanical and geometric designs.

Three medallions contain dedicatory inscriptions in Greek commemorating senior church dignitaries, Demetrios and Herakles, who were heads of the local regional church.  On both sides of the central nave are two narrow halls, or side aisles, which also have colored mosaic floors depicting botanical and geometric designs, as well as Christian symbols.

A pottery workshop, mainly for the production of jars, was also uncovered during the excavations and yielded numerous finds, including: amphorae, cooking pots, kraters, bowls and different kinds of oil lamps. Glass vessels typical of the Byzantine period were also discovered at the site. The finds indicate a rich and flourishing local culture.

This church is part of a large and important Byzantine settlement that existed in the region. The settlement was located next to the main road running between Ashkelon on the sea coast to the west, and Beit Guvrin and Jerusalem to the east. Excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority along this road have revealed other communities from the same period, but no churches have been found in them.

The recently uncovered church may have served as a center for Christian worship for all the surrounding communities. Wine presses and pottery workshops found in the region attest to the economy of the local residents during the Byzantine period, who made ​​their living from the production and exportation of wine via the coast to the entire Mediterranean region.

The site will be open to the public Thursday and Friday, Later, it will be covered and preserves for future generations. The magnificent mosaic that has come to light will be conserved, removed from the site and displayed to the public at a museum or visitors’ center.

About the Author: JewishPress.com brings you the latest in Jewish news from around the world. Stay up to date by following up on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have something noteworthy to report? Submit your news story to us here.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Major 1,500-Year-Old Church and Mosaic Discovered”

  1. Why not just keep the entire site with the mosaics in situ?

  2. Why not just keep the entire site with the mosaics in situ?

  3. Xavier Williams says:

    fix my bin

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Steve Emerson, author, journalist and terrorism expert.
Haaretz Smears American Terrorism Expert with Political Hit Job
Latest News Stories
Steve Emerson, author, journalist and terrorism expert.

Haaretz smears U.S. terrorism expert for being a Republican and friend of Sheldon Adelson.

Leslie W., 48, and his partner Akiwa H., 56, are charged with having sold more than 88,000 pounds of non-kosher meat for a marked-up price.

RCA Logo

The Rabbinical Council of America said that since the arrest last week of Rabbi Barry Freundel of Washington, DC, it has been working assiduously to address the many challenges that its members and their communities now face.

Agam Luria, from a kibbutz in the Jezreel Valley, was identified as one of the four Israelis killed in the Nepal blizzard.

It was an outright miracle: a tiny teahouse in the pass, and the equivalent of a Sherpa Pony Express to deliver a call for help.

ISIS propaganda video warns “our grandchildren will sell your sons as slaves.”

At least eight civilians were killed in US-led coalition air strikes against ISIS in a Syrian town near Deir el-Zour.

Hezbollah guerrillas are back on Israel’s northern border even though they’re busy in Syria. The question is what they’re planning and when.

Let’s raise funds to send her to Syria where she can put some sense in her head, if it stays attached.

An Israeli and an Arab poll results after the war.

The long ordeal of the Armenian Orphan Rug, held hostage to fears of angering Turkey, has finally ended. Or has it?

Dr. Eli Harari will receive the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

New York State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz criticized the decision to not charge the suspect with a hate crime.

Former White House official Ron Klain has been tapped to coordinate the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

The mountain trek of a lifetime has ended for Israeli hiker Michal Gili Charkesky, whose body was recovered from the Himalayas.

More Articles from Jewish Press News Briefs
Sha'di Halul, head of the Aramaic Maronite Heritage Center, in Gush Halav in northern Israel, on August 9, 2013. Aramaic is now recognized as a nationality in Israel.

Yaakov Halul is Israel’s first official Aramean.

The Jerusalem Intifada continues on…

A clear majority of Jewish Israelis oppose a Palestinian state, once they’re told the details of what it means.

It’s raining today in Jerusalem, the first major rain storm of the new year.

At least 5 swastikas were discovered painted on the Temple Mount.

The checkpoint near Jenin was closed after the IDF thought a person passing through was a suicide bomber.

The firebombs were thrown at the entrance of the hospital that faces Issawiya.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/major-1500-year-old-church-and-mosaic-discovered/2014/01/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: