Monday, September 03, 2012

Byzantine-era town excavated in Israel

AN ISRAELI SALVAGE EXCAVATION has made an important discovery:
Archaeologists unearth ruins of 1,500-year-old Jewish town in southern Israel
Authorities will change the planned route of Highway 6 to avoid damaging newly unearthed remains

By Matti Friedman September 2, 2012, 6:09 pm 0 (Times of Israel)

Israeli archaeologists digging on the route of a planned highway have found new ruins from a 1,500-year-old Jewish town, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday.

The remains of two Jewish ritual baths and two public buildings were uncovered in a salvage dig ahead of the paving of a new section of Israel’s Highway 6, a north-south toll road eventually slated to run much of the length of the country.

Both of the public buildings feature raised platforms along the walls facing Jerusalem, archaeologists say — a trademark feature of Jewish houses of prayer.

The highway will be rerouted to preserve the ruins, the IAA statement said.

The IAA press release in Hebrew is here and includes the photo in the article above and another one.

Via Joseph Lauer, who has also circulated high resolution copies of both IAA photos. These were sent by Yoli Shwartz, the IAA's Spokesperson, and I post them below. Click on the images for larger versions.