Numerous discoveries are made in Israel during the process of building a house, a road, or some other construction project. It becomes necessary to call the Israel Antiquities Authority so that an emergency excavation can be conducted.
Israel has a wonderful toll road (Highway 6) running from Galilee to the Negev. During preparatory work to extend the highway to the south, a settlement covering almost 1½ acres was uncovered in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama (Beit Kama) a few miles north of Beersheba. Shmuel Browns, Israel guide and blogger, attended a briefing by the IAA earlier in the week. He describes the discovery:
The site seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a tower, a church, residential buildings, presumably an inn for travelers, and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. Also found was a stone with a Byzantine cross in secondary usage.
Browns think this would be a good candidate for a monastery. He has granted permission for us to share this photo that he made during the IAA briefing.
Take a look at the blog post with a half dozen nice photos by Shmuel Browns here.
The Press Release by the IAA may be read here.
I see that Carl Rasmussen has posted a blog here about the 5th century synagogue that was discovered during construction work in 1993 at Sepphoris. This site is only 3½ miles north of Nazareth, the early home of Jesus.
There is still a lot to be uncovered in the Near East. See my post about “Know but mostly unknown” here.
Thanks for the mention Ferrell.
An elaborate 3 panel mosaic floor was uncovered in the public building. I have photos of the mosaic. For people who like Byzantine mosaic floors check out my post at Khirbet Midras as a comparison. http://israeltours.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/mosaics-hirbet-midras/
There is just so much history in that part of the world…