Saturday, March 03, 2018

Report on the Beit She'arim excavation

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: The New Excavations of Beth She’arim (Adi Erlich).
The origin and decline of the Jewish Galilee is the subject of considerable debate. Some scholars see a period of decline in the mid-4th century CE (whether the 351 Gallus revolt or the 363 earthquake), while others maintain there was no crisis and that it continued to flourish throughout the Byzantine period. The story emerging at Beth She’arim offers a middle way; the settlement recovered for a short time, but no longer flourished after the mid-5th century, and probably was small and insignificant in the Late Byzantine period. The cemetery was probably still in use, but the town no longer existed.

But Beth She’arim also stands out in the Jewish Galilee with its large public buildings decorated with marble slabs and well-planned town, atypical for Galilean towns. The large gate we have discovered, probably the town’s main gate, is also unique in Roman Galilee, attesting to the high status of Beth She’arim. Other features are unique to Beth She’arim, such as the double cisterns and large reservoirs. The special place of Beth She’arim as a living Jewish town, the home of Rabbi Judah and the Sanhedrin, is now coming into better focus.
For past PaleoJudaica posts on Beit She'arim (Beith Shearim) see here and links.

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