6th-century monastery unearthed in Israel


Jerusalem: Archeaologists have unearthed the remains of a 1,500-year-old monastery with intricate mosaic floors in southern Israel.

The Byzantine period monastery, discovered near Hura, a Bedouin village in the northern Negev Desert, measures 65 feet by 115 feet.

The monastery contains a prayer hall and dining room decorated with elaborate mosaics that show geometric patterns, leaves, flowers, baskets, jars and birds.

The tiles have retained their vibrant blue, red, yellow and green colours over the centuries, ‘LiveScience’ reported.

The mosaic floors include four Greek dedicatory inscriptions signifying the names of the monastery’s abbots: Eliyahu, Nonus, Solomon and Ilrion.

The inscriptions also contain the dates on which each floor was laid down during the second half of the sixth century AD.

Archaeologists also found ceramic jars, cooking pots, kraters, bowls, glass vessels and coins strewn about the ruins.

“It seems that this monastery, located near the Byzantine settlement of Horbat Hur, is one monastery in a series of monasteries situated alongside a road that linked Transjordan with the Be’er Sheva Valley,” said Daniel Varga, who was leading excavations at the site for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The discovery was made during a routine salvage excavation conducted by the IAA prior to the construction of an interchange on Israel’s Highway 31 in the Negev desert.