Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Archaeology / A home fit for a prince? (Ha'aretz)
By Ran Shapira

When Alexander Zeid - who in 1909 founded Hashomer, the first armed Jewish defense force in modern times - began to build his home in the hills of Sheikh Abrik in the late 1920s, the remains of an ancient wall were unearthed. Zeid invited archaeologist Benjamin Maisler - who subsequently changed his name to Mazar - to examine the wall. Mazar determined that it dated to the Roman period, and in 1939 and 1940 he led a team that exposed a large and well-established settlement that peaked between the end of the second century and the middle of the fourth century of the Common Era.

Mazar and Nachman Avigad, the directors of the excavation, identified the site as the historic Beit She'arim, one of the largest Jewish towns in the Lower Galilee in the late Second Temple period and the era of rebellions against the Romans. ...

Yigal Tepper, a Land of Israel historian, and Yotam Tepper, an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist - father and son - have restudied Mazar and Avigad's findings during the last few years and have reached a surprising conclusion: The four structures are essentially different wings of the same building. And not just any building, but the home of Rabbi Judah the Prince, redactor of the Mishna - the core of the Talmud - Judaism's oral law, and leader of the Jewish community in the Land of Israel in the second century of the Common Era. The theory appears in their book, "Beit She'arim: The Village and Nearby Burial."


(Heads up, Ed Cook.)

UPDATE (6 January): More here.

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