Byzantine church and mosaic uncovered in Hirbet Madras

A large and beautiful mosaic floor and a church were uncovered in
excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority at Hirbet Madras in
the Judean coastal plain. Various scholars who visited the site during the
excavation proposed identifying the place as the residence and tomb of the
prophet Zechariah.
In recent months an archaeological excavation was conducted at Hirbet Madras
in the wake of an antiquities theft during which robbers attempted to breach
and plunder an ancient underground complex.
Hirbet Madras is known as the site of a large, important Jewish community
from the Second Temple period until its destruction during the Bar Kokhba
Revolt in 135 CE.
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