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Ancient gateway uncovered at Beit Shearim, Israel

Posted : 04 April 2017 12:28:13 | By TWO Bureau | New Delhi

Ancient gateway uncovered at Beit Shearim, Israel

The University of Haifa has recently announced the surprising find of an ancient gateway at Beit She’arim (House of Gates). Excavations at Beit She’arim in northern Israel have unearthed fortifications of a Roman-era Jewish town where the Mishna was written. Beit She’arim means “House of Gates,” in Hebrew, and yet, until this time, there was no sign of any “gate” in the previously held excavations.


Although the excavations were unearthed during the autumn months of 2016, the University of Haifa only recently made the news public.  Half of an impressive northeast-facing gate built of limestone blocks, with post holes for doors and locks, abutting a circular tower, along a road leading into the ancient town, have been uncovered.


Despite its outsize cultural significance as the headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the chief Jewish judicial and scholarly council, and the birthplace of the Mishna, Beit She’arim was a relatively small town — not a likely place for fortified city walls.




Up until this point, it was deemed that a settlement of this nature would not have been ringed by a wall, and therefore it was commonly thought that the name Beit She’arim was not connected to the word ‘gate'. In the decades since the first excavations at the site in 1936, most scholars assumed Beit She’arim’s name was derived from some other origin, since no city gates were found.


The town was a major center of Jewish life and culture in the Land of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine periods. It was there that Rabbi Judah the Prince compiled the Mishna, the basic text of Jewish oral law, in the mid-second century CE. Its necropolis of Jewish tombs was recognized by the United Nations’ culture and education body UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 as “a treasury of artworks and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew and Palmyrene.”


Tags : Ancient Gateway, Beit Shearim, Israel, TravelWorldOnline

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