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Archaeologists discover ancient Christian settlement in Galilee conquered in 7th century

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Researchers in Israel say that they have found what they believe to be the remains of an ancient Christian settlement that was most likely destroyed by the Persian conquest of the region in the seventh century.

Atiqot, a Hebrew-language research journal operated by the Israel Antiquities Authority, has published a new report on the excavation at Pi Mazuva, a Byzantine settlement located in modern Israel’s northwest corner near the Lebanon border.

According to the journal, the excavation at the site, which was first discovered in 2007 during excavation for road construction, has revealed building complexes separated by alleys that date back to the Byzantine period.

“The finds at the site included a bronze cross, an ashlar limestone lintel with a cross engraving, and pottery dated to the sixth–seventh centuries CE, which comprised local types, alongside many imported ones, some adorned with crosses,” according to Atiqot.

“An interesting find is a high-quality, colorful, seventh-century CE mosaic floor adorned with floral motifs, animal and human figures, and two fragmentary Greek inscriptions. The finds at the site point to the existence of a rural Christian settlement, probably destroyed during the Persian conquest of the region in 613 CE.”

The research was led by IAA archaeologist Gilad Cinamon.

According to the Jewish newspaper Haaretz, the town is not known from Byzantine sources but was mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud, a document of religious law from the fourth and fifth century.

The town is said to be among a group of Western Galilee towns that are not considered part of the land of Israel but whose Jewish residents were to abide by the commandments listed for inhabitants of the holy land, Haaretz notes.

“While for now we have no documents from Christian sources about this settlement, all the evidence points to an almost entirely Christian population,” Cinamon told Haaretz.

According to Atiqot’s summary of the report, the pottery finds retrieved from the buildings excavated at Pi Maẓuva “date to the late Byzantine period and comprise local and imported vessels.”

Two red-slipped bowls were discovered. One was adorned with a cross and the other featured a human figure holding a staff.

“The pottery from Pi Maẓuva shows a clear affinity with assemblages dated to the late Byzantine period at nearby sites in the western Galilee,” the journal notes. “The rather large quantity of imported vessels possibly suggests the existence of dwellings and storehouses for agricultural produce at the site.”

According to Atiqot, the mosaic floor uncovered at Pi Mazuva comprises a “broad border of acanthus medallions, surrounding a carpet of flower buds, with a woman’s bust depicted in its center.” The journal states that the mosaic could be “a personification of abundance and agricultural fertility.”

“The acanthus border is populated by floral and animal motifs, which seem to have been executed by experienced artists. Based on iconographic and stylistic considerations, the mosaic was dated to the seventh century CE, probably created after the Muslim conquest, attesting to a continuation of local Byzantine traditions throughout the seventh–eighth centuries CE,” the journal explains.

“The mosaic might have adorned a room that was used for entertaining guests in a manor house.”

Cinamon told Haaretz that the mosaic — 16 feet by 16 feet — likely “decorated the living room of a self-sustained urban villa owned by a very wealthy family.”

“And this is quite a rare find for this area in the Byzantine period,” he said.

Sources: Christian Post

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ഭൂകമ്പം ഫിജിയെ പിടിച്ചുകുലുക്കി, റിക്ടർ സ്കെയിലിൽ 6.0 രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനം

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സുവ: ദ്വീപ് രാജ്യമായ ഫിജിയിൽ ഭൂചലനം. റിക്ടർ സ്‌കെയിലിൽ 6.0 തീവ്രത രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനത്തിൽ നാശനഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായതായി റിപ്പോർട്ടില്ല. 398 കിലോമീറ്റർ ആഴത്തിൽ പ്രകമ്പനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതായി യുഎസ് ഭൗമശാസ്ത്ര കേന്ദ്രം അറിയിച്ചു. ലെവൂക്ക നഗരത്തിന് 340 കിലോമീറ്റർ കിഴക്ക് മാറിയായിരുന്നു പ്രകമ്പനം. പ്രാദേശിക സമയം രാവിലെ 11.35 ഓടെയായിരുന്നു ഭൂചലനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടത്. സുനാമി മുന്നറിയിപ്പുകളൊന്നും നൽകിയിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് അധികൃതർ അറിയിച്ചു. ഭൂചലനം ഉണ്ടായ വിവരം ജർമ്മൻ ജിയോസയൻസ് റിസർച്ച് സെന്ററും സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്.

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Archaeologists discover rare 2,000-y-o oil lamp in Jerusalem’s City of David on Pilgrimage Road

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The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a rare oil lamp, with its wick still preserved, from under the foundation of a building erected on Jerusalem’s famed Pilgrimage Road soon after the destruction of the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago.

The IAA researchers believe the bronze lamp, shaped like a grotesque face cut in half and estimated to be from the late first century or the early second century CE, was put in the foundation of the building in Jerusalem’s City of David for good fortune, The Times of Israel reported.

“This half of a lamp, and in fact half a face, which was discovered in the City of David, is a very rare object, with only a few discovered in the whole world, and is the first of its kind to be discovered in Jerusalem,” Yuval Baruch of the IAA was quoted as saying.

“It is possible that the importance of the building, and the need to bless its activity with luck by burying a foundation deposit, was due to its proximity to the Siloam Pool, which was also used in the Roman period as the central source of water within the city,” IAA archaeologist Ari Levy told The Jerusalem Post.

Speaking to Haaretz, Levy explained, “Foundation deposits, in general, go back to the dim reaches of antiquity. It was accepted in construction in general, to bring luck and symbolic defense of the building — and to cast fear and awe on attackers. Its significance was highly symbolic, not functional.”

Haaretz said the lamp featured a goaty male half-face complete with (half a) satyr’s beard and a horned forehead.

Only one other such lamp has ever been found in an archaeological context — and that was in Budapest, according to Levy.

Experts believe that Pilgrimage Road, where the building had been erected, is the path ancient Jews walked to reach the Temple Mount three times a year — in the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

“The street was built during the period of Governor Pontius Pilates,” Levy said. “It was inaugurated around the year 30 CE and it was used for about 40 years until the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.”

Baruch added: “Decorated bronze oil lamps were discovered throughout the Roman Empire. For the most part, such oil lamps stood on stylish candelabras or were hung on a chain. Collections around the world contain thousands of these bronze lamps, many of which were made in intricate shapes, indicating the artistic freedom that Roman metal artists possessed.”
Sources:Christian Post

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