Thursday, April 3, 2014

6th century Byzantine monastery discovered, right next door!


This treading floor of an ancient winepress, half-covered by stones and fallen pine needles, was just sitting nonchalantly, unmarked,  in a little forest near the Israel Trail here in the northern Negev.
If our hike guide had not known where to find it, no one would have seen it. 

It's just another simple white floor made for grape-crushing many centuries ago.
Ho hum . . .

In contrast, however, a really exciting discovery was announced this week!
A 6th century Byzantine monastery with gorgeous mosaic floors!!!
It was found when road work was begun for Meitar's close neighbors, the Bedouin town of Hura. 

You can read the Israel Antiquities Authority's press release about it.
Scroll down to almost the end and click to download  their high resolution photographs.
You'll be glad you did!
UPDATE:  The link to the 41 MB zip folder of pictures  is

Some features of the mosaics are unique,  like the leaf motif.
And the green and yellow tesserae may have come from the Judean desert; they have not been  found in any other Byzantine ruins in Israel.
Who knows what else is waiting to be discovered right "in our own backyard"!


  1. That's very exciting, but I can't see any photos on their website! :-(

  2. Ciel, I updated the post now with a direct link for you to download the photos from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

  3. People here are scared to find something ancient during construction works: that will block everything for years!

  4. VP, yeah, I know. But here by law sites must be checked for possible antiquities before anything is built.


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