28 January 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

Evidence of a 1500-year-old Byzantine church found on the beach of Ashdod, Israel

Recent rain in Israel has unearthed the remains of a marble pillar dating to around 1,500 years ago on a beach in the city of Ashdod.

The pillar is part of the remains of a large Byzantine church that was located in the area some 1,500 years ago, according to the Antiquities Authority (IAA).

Ashdod-Yam was a prominent port city during the Byzantine period, known as Azotos Paralios, and featured on the renowned 6th century Madaba Map.

The column was found by Ashdod municipal inspectors Itai Dabush and Sagiv Ben Gigi during a recent routine patrol in the dunes.

Byzantine marble pillar after being removed from the ground in the Ashdod sand dunes.. (credit: Israel Antiquities Authority)
Byzantine marble pillar after being removed from the ground in the Ashdod sand dunes.. (credit: Israel Antiquities Authority)

The pillar, which was found lying in the sand, measured about 1.6 meters and, amazingly, was found in one whole, unbroken piece.

Avi Levy, Ashkelon archaeologist with the IAA, suggests the column may have come from the splendid early Byzantine basilica discovered in Ashdod Yam in 2017.

That extraordinary edifice may be the reason why Ashdod Yam appears on the Madaba Map, a sixth-century mosaic of the Holy Land – in fact, the earliest known map of the Holy Land, Levy says. The map was part of an ornate church floor in Jordan.

The Madaba Map, itself discovered in 1884, shows for instance the church of the Theotokos in Jerusalem, which was dedicated in the year 542, but no buildings in the city postdating the year 570. Scholars therefore believe the mosaic was created before 570.

Madaba Map. Photo: Wikipedia

The marble from which the pillar was made is not from Israel, and it needs to be analyzed by IAA experts to pinpoint its origin, Levy said.

However, Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University who has been excavating the magnificent basilica doesn’t think the column is from it, but from another locally built church that had been quite close to where the column is now, or was before it was moved. It hasn’t been excavated yet, he adds.

Archaeological excavations have been conducted in Ashdod since 2013 under the direction of Dr. Alex Pantalkin of the Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures of Tel Aviv University.

Extensive remains of a Byzantine period church compound were uncovered in August 2017 in the northern part of the site. The basilica, under exploration since mid-2017, may actually date to as early as the third century, making it one of the earliest Christian structures in the land.

One of the fascinating finds in the excavation was a series of tombs bearing memorial inscriptions for male and female deacons, assistants of the priest. The tombs were found next to each other in the north citadel area of the church. A tomb of a female martyr was also discovered in the central apse of the church.

Israel Antiques Authority

Banner
Related Post

A Unique 2000-Year-Old Oil Lamp Found in Israel

5 May 2021

5 May 2021

Archaeologists have discovered a rare 2,000-year-old oil lamp in David, Jerusalem. Archaeologists have discovered a rare oil lamp, shaped like...

The place where John the Baptist was martyred

4 February 2022

4 February 2022

The infamous birthday banquet of Herod Antipas, which culminated in the beheading of St John the Baptist — a preacher...

2800-year-old two Swords found in Germany from the start of the Iron Age

8 June 2022

8 June 2022

During archaeological excavations in preparation for the construction of the fire station in the Frieding district of Andechs in southern...

New stone ram heads unearthed in Luxor, Egypt

15 October 2021

15 October 2021

Mustafa al-Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), recently announced the discovery of new stone ram heads...

Famous Egyptologist Zahi Hawass Wants to See Hieroglyphs as an İntegral Part of The Curriculum

23 February 2021

23 February 2021

The Egyptian council of ministers is discussing the introduction of archaeological and tourist materials in the education curriculum to help...

Archaeologists in Derbyshire have unearthed a 9th century Anglo Saxon house

15 July 2021

15 July 2021

A nearly complete Anglo-Saxon house, considered to date from the early ninth century and might have been the abode of...

Rare biblical ‘balsam tree’ found depicted on ancient Jerusalem amethyst seal

21 October 2021

21 October 2021

Archaeologists working in the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered an engraved amethyst seal in the Second Temple, thought to...

A Batavian Cavalry Mask was found on the Battlefield of Roman Comrades

22 July 2022

22 July 2022

Archaeologists have discovered that a rusty corroded plate they found 4 years ago at an old battlefield in the city...

Archaeologists discover a 4,000-year-old ancient city in the Iraqi Dhi Qar region

20 July 2021

20 July 2021

An astonishing find was made by archaeologists in Iraq‘s Dhi Qar province, where an ancient settlement estimated to be 4,000...

Ancient Latin texts written on papyrus reveal new information about the Roman world

11 January 2023

11 January 2023

Researchers funded by the European Union have deciphered ancient Latin texts written on papyrus. This work could reveal a lot...

The bronze age village Afragola buried by the Plinian eruption of mount Vesuvius 4,000 Years Ago

30 September 2022

30 September 2022

Mount Vesuvius’ Plinian eruption about 4,000 years ago—2,000 years before it buried the Roman city of Pompeii—left remarkable preservation of...

5,000-year-old Settlement Unearthed in Al Mudhaibi, Oman

3 January 2023

3 January 2023

The Oman News Agency announced that a 5,000-year-old settlement was discovered during archaeological excavations at the Al Gharyein archaeological site...

Ancient Mesopotamians bred horse-like hybrids

17 January 2022

17 January 2022

New research finds that Mesopotamians were utilizing hybrids of domesticated donkeys and wild asses to drive their war wagons 4,300...

After 85 years of adventure, Globetrotting Mycenaean gold ring returns home

3 June 2022

3 June 2022

The 3,000-year-old gold Mycenaean ring, stolen from the Rhodes Archaeological Museum during World War II and later bought by a...

On a 5,300-year-old skull, archaeologists find evidence of the first known ear surgery

20 February 2022

20 February 2022

Humans may have begun performing ear surgery more than 5,000 years ago, say Spanish archaeologists. Spanish researchers say the skull...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *