Ancient church and farmhouse unearthed outside Tel Aviv

An aerial view of the 2,700-year-old farmhouse. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

( Israeli archaeologists have unearthed an impressive 1,500-year-old Byzantine Church and a 2,700-year-old farmhouse in the Israeli town of Rosh Ha'Ayin, which lies just east of Tel Aviv, during construction of a new housing development.

“The large farmhouse was preserved to a height of more than 2 meters (6 and a half feet). The building is 2,700 years old and included twenty-four rooms constructed around a central courtyard,” said Amit Shadman, the Israel Antiquities Authority's (IAA) excavation director.

According to the IAA, the farmhouse was eventually abandoned during the Hellenistic period. However, hundreds of years later, during the fifth century CE, another settlement wave led by Christians led to new construction in the area, including many churches and monasteries.

“A monastery dating to the Byzantine period was exposed on one of the hills in the area and included a church, an oil press, residential quarters and stables equipped with mangers and troughs, etc.,” the IAA said.

The church that was built inside of the monastery was made with colorful mosaics that includes geometric patterns and other designs. Additionally, the IAA said, a Greek inscription to a priest named Theodosius, which was a common name of that era, was found in one of the mosaics.

“This place was built under Theodosius the priest. Peace be with you when you come, peace be with you when you go, Amen,” the inscription said.

The monastery was eventually abandoned and later destroyed during the Ottoman period.

The IAA said that the ancient remains will be preserved and displayed within communal areas of the new neighborhood. 

Posted on December 30, 2015 .