A Tomb from the Early Bronze Age I and the Intermediate Bronze Age at Azor
(Hebrew, pp. 1*–8*; English summary, p. 255)
Keywords: cemetery, burial goods
The tomb excavated at Azor is one of scores of tombs that were excavated in the cemetery at the site. Its plan comprised a shaft that led to an oval burial chamber. The finds in the tomb date to EB I and the Intermediate Bronze Age. The EB I finds include pottery fragments of bowls, juglets and jugs, a pierced lug handle and a decorated object. The finds from the Intermediate Bronze Age include fragments of bowls, cups, jars, metal artifacts, a Canaanean blade and beads.
Two Seasons of Rescue and Exploratory Excavations at Horbat ‘Avot, Upper Galilee
(with a contribution by Orit Shamir)
Keywords: Upper Galilee, Horvat Avot, Iron Age, Neolithic period, Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age burials, Persian period, Wavy-Band pithoi, Galilean pithoi, incisions, potter’s marks, trade, economy, hill country, typology, ethnicity
Two superimposed strata were uncovered at the site—Strata 1 and 2—as well as earlier remains (Stratum
-1) and later graves (Stratum 2+). Stratum 1 comprised the corner of a rectangular building, dated to the Persian period. In Stratum 2, dated to Iron Age I, several rectilinear buildings were uncovered. At least one of the buildings had a semisubterranean basement, indicating the existence of an upper story. Based on the considerable storage potential of the pithoi found within some of the structures, it seems that they were used for storage, thereby suggesting an agriculturally based community with a sound economic basis. The bulk of the pottery recovered from the excavation dates from Iron Age I. Best represented in the assemblage are pithoi, several of which bear incised or punctuate decorations. The pithoi from Horbat Avot confirm the basic division into “Galilean” and “Wavy-Band” pithoi, but suggest further subdivisions and a localized typology that may have relevance for sites beyond the region of Upper Galilee. Other finds worthy of mention are a bone knife handle that was carved to resemble a circumcised phallus, two spindle whorls and one loomweight, stone objects and flint tools.
A Pottery Workshop at Ahihud and Its Relationship to the Jar Industry in the Northeastern Zevulun Valley and Western Galilee during the Roman Period
Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Anastasia Shapiro
Keywords: Western Galilee, pottery industry, double kiln, technology, typology, wine production, oil production, petrology, economy
At the site, located along the eastern edge of the Zevulun Valley, two strata were discerned. Earlier Stratum II, dated to the beginning of the Roman period (50 BCE–135 CE), yielded the corner of a structure and a wall fragment. In Stratum I, dated from the Middle to the Late Roman periods (135–450 CE), pottery kilns were found, as well as a pottery production waste dump. A total of 1038 rim sherds were unearthed, mostly associated with the pottery workshop debris recovered from a pile of wasters (Stratum I, Area B). The assemblage includes tableware (bowls, kraters), cooking (pots, saucepans) and storage (jars, amphora) vessels, jar lids, antiliya jars and stands. Thirty-eight sherds were subjected to petrological provenience analysis, and four main petrological groups were identified: vessels produced at the site, vessels either manufactured at the site or brought there, vessels produced outside the site, and varia. The expertise of this workshop lay in the production of four types of barrel jars. The workshop at Ahihud is an important addition to other known pottery workshops in the northeastern Zevulun Valley and western Galilee during the Roman and Byzantine periods (mid-first century BCE–mid-seventh century). These jars probably served as containers for olive oil and wine.
Roman Burial Caves at I‘billin
(with a contribution by Irina Segal)
Nurit Feig and Shulamit Hadad
Keywords: Lower Galilee, cemetery, loculi (kokhim), burial goods, ethnicity, kohl analysis, purity laws, Jewish halakha
A complex of three burial caves, dated to the first–fourth centuries CE, was exposed at the site. The caves yielded coffins, stone and clay ossuaries, and hundreds of artifacts, among them 300 lamps and many glass vessels, including a kohl bottle and a copper-alloy spatula. All the lamps—except one, imported from Cnidos—were locally made. All the lamps were found with their discus broken, a practice usually attributed to a Jewish population. The glass vessels are all closed vessels, typical of Early Roman-period burials. Two small beads, made of bluish green glass, were also retrieved. These caves are an additional link in the chain of Jewish burials in Lower Galilee.
Meron: A Late Roman–Ottoman Settlement
Keywords: Upper Galilee, Jewish pilgrimage, itineraries of Jewish travelers, Jewish community, Crusader documents, Frankish population, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
Three squares were excavated, revealing four strata: Stratum 1, from the Late Ottoman period (eighteenth–early twentieth centuries); Stratum 2, dating to the Crusader/Mamluk period; Stratum 3, from the Byzantine period; and Stratum 4, from the Late Roman period. The ceramic finds date mainly from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries CE; exceptions include Ottoman Rashaya el-Fukhar ware and a cooking pot from the Late Roman–Byzantine periods. The excavation at Meron yielded additional information regarding the Roman and Byzantine settlements there. The excavated area appears to have exposed the southern limits of the Crusader and Mamluk settlements. The site remained abandoned from the end of the Mamluk period until the establishment of a Late Ottoman settlement, probably in the eighteenth century, which continued intensively through the early twentieth century.
The Coins from Meron
Keywords: Upper Galilee, numismatics
Twenty-two coins were found, thirteen of which were identified. The coins date from the Late Roman, Byzantine, Abbasid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods.
A Georgian Monastery from the Byzantine Period at Khirbat Umm Leisun, Jerusalem
(with a contribution by Jon Seligman and Iulon Gagoshidze)
Keywords: Jerusalem, coenobium, monastic complex, monks, Bishop Iohane, mosaics, burial, anthropology, population, Christianity, Georgian language, inscription, epigraphy, paleography, stamped tiles
The site is located 4.5 km southeast of the Old City of Jerusalem. It included the remains of a small monastery from the Byzantine period, consisting of a chapel with mosaic floors and a series of rooms surrounding an open courtyard. On the northern edge of the courtyard, two burial vaults cut into the bedrock on either side of a central staircase. The magnificent northern crypt was built of ashlar masonry. In a niche at the western end of the crypt, a single raised tomb was set; on the top surface of its tombstone was a five-line inscription in Georgian script. The occupant of this most important tomb is the only one identified by an inscription, pointing to his special status. The floor of the crypt was paved with large flagstones, which covered seven burial troughs; each one of them had an iron ring that was used to lift the flagstones. The southern crypt included two burial troughs. The finds were of limited types and chronology. A number of marble pieces of chancel-screen pillars and many fragments of painted wall-plaster were found, as well as glass vessels and windowpanes, ceramics and ceramic roof tiles. Umm Leisun is identified as a small rural monastery on the route from Jerusalem to the laurae and coenobia of the Judean Desert, and from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
Paleographic Study of the Georgian Tombstone from Khirbat Umm Leisun, Jerusalem
Keywords: Jerusalem, Georgian epigraph, paleography, monastery, Georgian language, Christianity, epigraphy
The epitaph found on the tombstone from the monastery of Umm Leisun is written in the Georgian Asomt’avruli (uncial) script. It mentions Iohane, Bishop of Purtavi. Based on paleographic considerations, the inscription should be placed in the rank of the early Georgian inscriptions, i.e., the end of the fifth or, more likely, the first half of the sixth century CE. This inscription attests that the Umm Leisun Monastery was a Georgian cloister.
The Inscription from Khirbat Umm Leisun, and Georgian Presence in the Holy Land
Keywords: Jerusalem, Georgian epigraphy, paleography, monastery, Georgian language, Christianity, epigraphy, monastic life, Peter the Iberian, etymology, Georgian pilgrims, Georgian travelers, Georgian church
This inscription, dating from the end of the fifth or the first half of the sixth century CE, is one of the oldest Georgian inscriptions in the Holy Land. The use of the name “Iohane” further confirms this early date. In this article, it is argued that the word Purtaveli, mentioned in the inscription, is not of Georgian origin, and that Iohane was not the bishop of a monastery called Purtavi situated in Georgia. It is suggested that the name Purtaveli was given to the bishop in the Holy Land and that it was of local Semitic origin, either Hebrew or Aramaic. The prominent position of Bishop Iohane—buried in a tomb separated from the other tombs in the crypt of the monastery—and his identification by a Georgian inscription are convincing evidence that the Umm Leisun monastery should be considered to be Georgian.
Bishop Iohane from Khirbat Umm Leisun and the Caucasian Albanian Church
Keywords: Jerusalem, Caucasian history, Georgian epigraphy, paleography, monastery, Georgian language, Christianity, epigraphy, monastic life, Peter the Iberian, etymology, Georgian church, Armenia, Georgia, Albania
This article offers another interpretation of the Umm Leisun inscription in light of the history of the Caucasian Church. It is suggested that Iohane, ‘the bishop of Purtavi,’ be interpreted as ‘the bishop of Partav’, thus implying that the person who was buried in the Umm Leisun monastery was a native of the Kartli kingdom, but had served far away from his country, in Albania. This can also explain the large number of deceased buried in the monastery crypt, plausibly members of the Albanian community, who desired to be buried near their shepherd.
Glass Vessels from the Monastery at Khirbat Umm Leisun, Jerusalem
Keywords: Jerusalem, Byzantine period, Early Islamic period, eulogia, Christian motifs, Christianity
The excavation yielded a small quantity of glass finds, comprising a bowl or oil lamp with a mold-blown decoration, plain and decorated bottles and windowpanes. The glass finds date between the sixth and mid-eighth centuries CE, serving as a useful contribution to the data of glassware that was prevalent in the region of Jerusalem during the late Byzantine/early Umayyad periods. The limited repertoire of types has parallels in many monasteries and churches in Israel and Jordan that existed up to the Islamic conquest.
The Skeletal Remains from Khirbat Umm Leisun, Jerusalem
Keywords: Jerusalem, Byzantine period, anthropology, monastery, population, demography
At least 24 individuals were found in the crypt of the Byzantine monastery at Umm Leisun. In the large grave with the inscribed tombstone, only one old male individual was interred, while two to four individuals were identified in each of the other graves. All the adults whose sex could be determined were males, a phenomenon typical of monasteries. Thus, the skeletal finds at the site seem to be a faithful representation of the death pattern of a monastic population.
A Late Byzantine Industrial Quarter and Early Islamic-Period Finds at Horbat Be’er Shema‘
Tali Erickson-Gini, Benjamin J. Dolinka and Larissa Shilov
Keywords: ancient sources, Justinian Plague, Islamic conquest, wine production, screw press, numismatics, bronze coins, pottery kiln, economy, church, industry
Nine areas were excavated (Areas A–H, N). In the Byzantine period (fifth–early seventh centuries CE), the western perimeter of the site served as an industrial quarter containing a large winepress of the ‘four-square’ type, a building for storing jars and at least one structure with an underground cellar. A meager occupation occurred during the Early Islamic period (eighth–ninth centuries CE) in new areas of the site. The site was resettled after 1900 by Egyptian fellahin, who exploited the high water table for agricultural purposes; mud-brick structures had survived from this period. Most of the ceramic vessels from the excavation date to the Byzantine period and include a relatively large number of broken storage jars—mainly bag-shaped jars and Gaza wine jars. It is suggested that the storage jars were produced in a nearby kiln; this assumption is further supported by the presence of kiln wasters scattered over the surface of the site. The small finds from the Byzantine period include fragments of glass vessels, a bronze spatula, iron nails, a seashell and a bone-shaped object carved from stone. From the Islamic period were found glazed pottery bowls, a decorated piece of a marble vessel and a sherd from a large storage jar bearing the name Allah in Arabic, a cylindrical flask and two metal weights. The finds from the twentieth century comprise Black Gaza Ware and part of a wooden and metal antilliya box.
Magnetic Prospecting of Archaeological Targets at Horbat Be’er Shema‘
The magnetic study at Horbat Be’er Shema‘ revealed several anomalies, which pointed to the existence of a rectangular building at the site. The displacement of magnetic anomalies aided the archaeologists in choosing the location of their test excavation.
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