Ancient church discovered at site where Ark of the Covenant once stood
One of the earliest churches ever to be excavated in Israel was recently discovered in the archeological site of Tel Shilo, in Samaria.
The church, dating from the fourth century C.E., was discovered...[and]...the discovery...was accidental.
Photo credit: Batya Medad
The church was uncovered when rainwater, which was abundant this winter, seeped into the ancient basilica at the archaeological site. In efforts to prevent the water from causing damage to the basilica, it was decided to dig a drainage ditch.
The workers who dug the ditch accidentally discovered three mosaics that had been incredibly preserved, which led to the discovery of the ancient three-room church.
Simply, the "Danish Basilica", first uncovered in 1929, was found to be larger than thought to its south, west and east.
I was asked not to elaborate but, since it has appeared in the media, I can say that a lot of pottery was found and, most importantly, organic material, hopefully food, that was preserved due to it being covered over by a cover of some sort as well as nails from furniture that was burnt, probably during the Samaritan Revolt of 529 CE. Or a bit earlier. This was a
bloody repression...against the Byzantine Christian rulers and the mass conversion to Islam in the Early Muslim period of Palestine.
Tensions between the Christian’s and the Samaritans grew dramatically. In 484, the city of Nablus became the site of a deadly encounter between the two groups, provoked by the Christians intention to transfer the remains of Aaron’s sons and grandsons Eleazar, Ithamar and Phinehas. Samaritans reacted by entering the cathedral of Neapolis, killing the Christians inside and severing the fingers of the bishop Terebinthus. Terebinthus then fled to Constantinople, requesting an army garrison to prevent further attacks. As a result of the revolt, the Byzantine emperor Zeno erected a church on Mount Gerizim. He also forbade the Samaritans to travel to the mountain to celebrate their religious ceremonies and confiscated their synagogue there. These actions by the emperor fuelled Samaritan anger towards the Christians further.
Thus, the Samaritans rebelled again under the rule of emperor Anastasius I, reoccupying Mount Gerizim, which was subsequently reconquered by the Byzantine governor of Edessa, Procopius. A third Samaritan revolt which took place under the leadership of Julian Ben Saba in 529 was the most violent. Neapolis’ bishop Ammonas was murdered and the city’s priests were hacked into pieces and then burned together with the relics of saints. The forces of Emperor Justinian I were sent in to quell the revolt, which ended with the slaughter of the majority of the Samaritan population in the cities.
We are waiting the results from the laboratory check.