The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is an independent Israeli governmental authority that regulates excavation and conservation, and promotes research. Lately, IAA has declared that the remains of 1500 year old Byzantine monastery and church have been uncovered in Beit Shemesh, a city situated to the west of Jerusalem.
The remains have been discovered as a result of savage excavations carried out by the IAA. Remains of walls made of large worked stone masonry; a large number of architectural elements, including a marble pillar base; a beautiful mosaic floor decorated with birds, leaves, pomegranates were uncovered during the excavation. Some artefacts such as a small bronze cross and ceramic oil lamps blackened by ancient charring were also found during the excavation. It is estimated that this small bronze cross may have been part of jewellery in ancient times. During the Islamic conquest in the seventh century, the church was abandoned. The researchers are still working so as to find out the true reason of abandonment. The researchers stated that in comparison to the other churches found in Judean Shephelah or Judean foothills, this church have outstanding preservation. It is one of the largest that have been uncovered in the region.
By: Anuja Arora