Monday, May 25, 2020

The enigma of the late-antique Negev (with LBA bonus!)

ARCHAEOLOGY: The enigma behind the 1,500-year-old Christian communities in the Negev. Remains of over 180 houses were also revealed by the researchers, together with many agricultural installations including dams, cisterns, wine presses and a pigeon tower (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).

Archaeologist Yotam Tepper:
“We are trying to understand why the settlements in the Negev collapsed at the end of the Byzantine period. We are considering several hypotheses, from a phenomenon of climate change to a plague, to the effects of the Arab conquest around 630-634 CE. However, it is hard to come to a definite conclusion, especially because different communities were abandoned in different times,” he explained.
Background on Shivta and the archaeology of the late-antique Negev is here and links.

Also, while we're on the subject of the ancient Negev, this discovery is outside PaleoJudaica's usual chronological horizon. But it's unusual and worth a mention here: 3,500-year-old plate depicting power struggle in ancient Negev discovered. Imri Elia, a resident of Kibbutz Niri, found the small engraved clay plate featuring two human figures near Tel Jemmeh (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).

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