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Dedicated to the military history and civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire (330 to 1453)


"Time in its irresistible and ceaseless flow carries along on its flood all created things and drowns them in the depths of obscurity."

- - - - Princess Anna Comnena (1083–1153) - Byzantine historian

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1,500 year old Byzantine-era church uncovered in Israel




A 1500-year-old church building, dating to the Byzantine era, was uncovered in Israel on Wednesday. The Israel Antiquities Authority was excavating a site where the Israel Land Authority is beginning new construction on a neighborhood in Moshav Aluma. The 1,500-year-old church building was a surprise to archaeologists, as it was the first of its size found in the area.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1106606/1500-year-old-church-building-discovered-in-israel-reveals-beautiful-mosaic/#TtY4Xv3Ud3BZASBa.99

A 1500-year-old church building, dating to the Byzantine era, was uncovered in Israel on Wednesday. The Israel Antiquities Authority was excavating a site where the Israel Land Authority is beginning new construction on a neighborhood in Moshav Aluma. The 1,500-year-old church building was a surprise to archaeologists, as it was the first of its size found in the area.
Archaeological finds are always exciting in Israel because of the rich religious tradition and history found in the region. The Byzantine era existed from the 4th century until 15th century, when modern day Istanbul, then Constantinople, fell to the Ottoman Turks. They scattered large basilicas from Europe to Israel. As a continuation of the Roman Empire, they were known for their ornate structures and use of religious relics.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1106606/1500-year-old-church-building-discovered-in-israel-reveals-beautiful-mosaic/#TtY4Xv3Ud3BZASBa.99
A 1,500-year-old mosaic floor with colorful images of animals, botanical and geometrical designs has been brought to light during the excavation of a Byzantine-era Christian church in southern Israel.

The church was part of a major Byzantine settlement located next to the main road running between Ashkelon on Israel's Mediterranean coast and Jerusalem to the east. Previous excavations along the road had found traces of other communities from the same period, but no churches.

The mosaic that was in the church's main hall features 40 decorative medallions. Some of the medallions depict animals including a zebra, a leopard, a turtle, a wild boar and various types of birds. Three medallions contain Greek inscriptions that commemorate two church leaders named Demetrios and Herakles.

Archaeologist Daniel Varga said another mosaic features "a 12-row dedicatory inscription in Greek containing the names Mary and Jesus, and the name of the person who funded the mosaic's construction." Inside a pottery workshop, archaeologists found jars, cooking pots, bowls and oil lamps.


The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) say the Byzantine-era structure "probably served as a center of Christian worship for neighboring communities."

The discovery was made during a routine salvage excavation conducted by the IAA prior to the construction of a new neighborhood in the area.

The building is approximately 72 feet long by 40 feet wide and consists of a central hall with two side aisles divided by marble pillars. An open courtyard at the front of the structure is paved with a white mosaic floor and a cistern.

Directly off of the courtyard is a rectangular hall with another more intricate mosaic floor with colored geometric designs.

Including among the finds are five inscriptions, one of which mentions Mary and Jesus.

"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," archaeologist Daniel Varga said in a press release.

The main hall has a mosaic with depictions of a variety of animals including zebra, leopard, turtle and wild boar. The designs also include Christian symbols.

Archaeologists also discovered glass vessels, oil lamps, amphorae, cooking pots, kraters, and bowls. These finds "indicate a rich and flourishing local culture" during the Byzantine period.

In order to preserve the site, it will be covered with dirt and the IAA is making plans to remove the mosaic floors to be put on display.




Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths watch as Israeli
archaeologists work on the mosaic.



The intricate artwork was found when a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church
was excavated and has Greek symbols, which archaeologists said show
that it once served as a center of Christian worship.

An ancient mosaic showing a menagerie of animals from birds (pictured) to
leopards, has been unearthed in southern Israel in a town near Tel Aviv.


Experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) discovered marble pillars and
the mosaic floor inside the basilica, which measures 72ft by 39ft (22 by 12metres).  Tiles of different colors were assembled to create a geometrical design.

The mosaics in what would have been the church's nave are decorated with vines in the shape of 40 medallions, which each show a different animal, including a zebra, leopard (foreground), wild boar (back left), turtle and winged birds as well as botanical and geometric designs.

Provincia Palaestina Prima
The recently discovered church was located in the Roman Empire province of Judea which later became the Eastern Roman Province of Palaestina.
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Rome's involvement in the area dated from 63 BCE, following the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made Syria a province.  In that year, after the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus, the proconsul Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) sacked Jerusalem and entered the Jerusalem Temple. Subsequently, during the 1st century BCE, the Herodian Kingdom was established as a Roman client kingdom and then in 6 CE parts became a province of the Roman Empire.
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Palæstina Prima or Palaestina I was a Byzantine province from 390, until the 7th century. It was lost to the Jewish Sassanid Commonwealth in 614, but was re-annexed in 628, before its final loss during the Muslim conquest of Syria in 636.
(Palaestina Prima)      (Roman Province Judea)


(NBC News)      (Fox News - science)      (Daily Mail)

3 comments:

Sofia Thatharopoulou said...

Hello, do you know where this discovery has been published? Is it in any of the volumes of Excavations and Surveys in Israel?

Gary said...

I just have the news report.

Anonymous said...

Those findings and the care as they are been work out , made hard comparison as some relics been treated in other places near by ... like in Palmyra .
One must think that by erased ancient cultures or findings , that bring some kind of status as the superseeded culture of the world .
On a low level scale , in my own country when revolution prevail , we ... even nobody destroy ancient monuments ... they go on a rampage to give new names to streets , or parks . In EastComunistGermany they even re-birth millenium cities as Karl Marx Stadt ones .Or Saigon in Vietnam ... former what ? no Ho Chi Min City i reckon it was named before French Colonial rule by that Saigon french general .
The erased of unconformed , to they, past times , are a common use of all totalitarium thoughts.
Orwell was right , and he is very rightminded ... even today .