Jericho, West Bank, January 27, 2023
Another Byzantine-era archaeological find was recently uncovered in the Holy Land.
According to the Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit, a Byzantine church with elaborate mosaic floors was found near Jericho, in the West Bank, reports the Times of Israel.
The Unit dated the church to the 6th century, noting that it was still being used in the Early Muslim Period 100 years later. The mosaic floors show no signs of damage from Islamic iconoclasm.
The church also survived a major earthquake in 749 AD that destroyed other churches and buildings throughout the region, although researchers believe the church was already abandoned by that point, with its entrance sealed.
At more than 2,690 square feet, the church was one of the largest in the area at the time. Its nave is almost completely preserved, with a mosaic depicting vine braids and animals. It includes materials not found locally, such as marble columns and bitumen stones, which indicates the wealth of the builders.
The Civil Administration said it intends to move the building and put it on display in the mosaic museum at the Good Samaritan site, near Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank.