Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Archaeologists plan to rebury recently discovered church some think marks the tomb of the prophet Zechariah

Over the last two weeks reports have been circulating about the discovery of a Byzantine church in the Shephelah (low lands) of Israel. Apparently, antiquity thieves had been looting the site which prompted the Israeli authorities to excavate the site to determine its identification and protect it from further looting.

The site was actually discovered in the 19th century and was thought for sometime to be a synagogue. A lintel at the site was at first thought that it bore the a star of David. But the excavations revealed that is was a church with beautiful mosaic floors.

Some have suggested that the church was built over the top of the tomb of the prophet Zechariah, but there is no firm proof either way. Here is a portion of the report from the Israeli Antiquity Authorities.

As previously mentioned, researchers who visited the site are of the opinion that the site is the residence and tomb of the prophet Zechariah. Ancient Christian sources identified the burial place of the prophet Zechariah in the village of Zechariah, and noted that his place of burial was discovered in 415 CE. The researchers believe that in light of an analysis of the Christian sources, including the Madaba Map, the church at Hirbet Madras is a memorial church designed to mark the tomb of the prophet Zechariah. This issue will be examined and studied in the near future.

You can read the rest of the report here.

Unfortunately, there is not enough money to preserve and develop the church so they are going to cover it back up. Outside of a museum, that is the best way to preserve something. Hoefully they will be able to uncover it again someday.

Here is a short video showing the site.

No comments:

Post a Comment