Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists digging at the site of Beth Shemesh have discovered the spectacular remains of a 1,500-year-old monastery and church decorated with mosaic floors and imported marble elements.
“We were surprised by the wonderful state of preservation of the ancient remains, and the richness of the finds being uncovered,” said Dr. Benyamin Storchan, excavation director for the IAA.
“The artifacts found in the large building, which seems to be a monastic compound, may indicate that the site was important and perhaps a center for ancient pilgrims in the Judean Shephelah region.”
Until now, only a small percent of the monastery has been uncovered, which was abandoned in the 7th century CE for unknown reasons.
“During the excavation, we uncovered before our eyes the remains of walls built of large worked stone masonry and a number of architectural elements including a marble pillar base decorated with crosses and marble window screens,” Dr. Storchan said.
“The marble artifacts were brought from the region of Turkey and further inland by wagon.”
“In one of the rooms we uncovered a beautiful mosaic floor decorated with birds, leafs, and pomegranates.”
“We already know of a number of ancient churches and monasteries in the Judean Shephelah, but this one has outstanding preservation.”
Source link: https://www.sci.news/archaeology/byzantine-era-monastery-church-israel-05576.html