Avdat

Avdat in Roman and Byzantine Times

Avdat is located on a mountain ridge in the center of the Negev highlands. In the middle of the 3rd century it was resettled and became an important Roman military outspost, with a residential quarter on the spur southeast of the acropolis. In the sixth century, under Byzantine rule, Avdat had an estimated population of 3,000. New agricultural crops were grown in the valleys around the city and a number of wine presses, which have been excavated, indicate intensive vine cultivation. A citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis. The city was destroyed, probably by earthquake, and abandoned in the 7th century. The Northern Church, in basilical style, was reached through an atrium with a cistern and had a single apse. Behind it, to the west, was a baptismal font in cruciform shape and a smaller font for baptizing infants. The more important Southern Church had three apses on the eastern side. In the floor are reliquaries for the remains of local saints. In the floor of the prayer hall of the church are the tombs of clerical dignitaries with inscriptions on stone slabs covering the tombs, dating from 542 to 618. One of the inscriptions gives the name of the church, The Martyrion of St. Theodorus, also known from other inscriptions, who served as abbot of the monastery of Avdat and was buried in this church. The excavations at Kurnub were conducted by A. Negev of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the National Parks Authority; the excavations at Shivta date from the 1930s . Cleaning and restoration was done on behalf of the National Parks Authority under A. Aviyonah; the excavations at Avdat were conducted by A. Negev on behalf of the National Parks Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES] [Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Read More

Avdat in Wikipedia

Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎, from Arabic: عبدات‎, Abdat), also known as Ovdat or Obodat was the most important historic city on the Incense Route after Petra between the 7th and the 1st centuries BCE. It was inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans and Byzantines.[1] It was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra - Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd - late 2nd century BCE. Avdat was named for Nabataean King Obodas I who was revered as a deity and, according to tradition, was buried there. History Before the end of the 1st century BCE a temple platform (the acropolis) was created along the western edge of the plateau. Recent excavations have shown that the town continued to be inhabited by the Nabataeans continuously from this period until its destruction by earthquake in the early 7th century CE. Sometime towards the end of the 1st century BCE the Nabataeans began using a new route between the site of Moyat Awad in the Arabah valley and Avdat by way of Makhtesh Ramon. Nabataean or Roman Nabataean sites have been found at excavated at Moyat Awad (mistakenly called Moa of the 6th century CE Madeba Map), Qatzra, Har Masa, Mezad Nekarot, Sha'ar Ramon (Khan Saharonim), Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal and Grafon. Avdat continued to prosper as a major station along the Petra-Gaza road after the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE. Avdat, like other towns in the central Negev highlands, adjusted to the cessation of international trade through the region in the early to mid 3rd century by adopting agriculture, and particularly the production of wine, as its means of subsistence. Numerous terraced farms and water channels were built throughout the region in order to collect enough run-off from winter rains to support agriculture in the hyper arid zone of southern Israel. At least five wine presses dated to the Byzantine period have been found at the site. In the late third or early 4th century (probably during the reign of Diocletian) the Roman army constructed an army camp measuring 100 x 100 m. on the northern side of the plateau. Elsewhere at the site, an inscription was found in the ruins of a tower describing the date (293/294 CE) and the fact that one of the builders hailed from Petra. Around this time a bath house was constructed on the plain below the site. The bath house was supplied with water by way of a well, tunneled 70 meters through bedrock. Sites along the Petra- Gaza road were apparently used by the Roman army in the 4th and 5th centuries when the road continued to function as an artery between Petra and the Nabataean Negev settlements. Pottery and coins from the late 3rd - early 5th century have been found at Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal, Shar Ramon and Har Masa and Roman milestones line part of the road between Avdat and Shar Ramon. A fort with four corner towers was constructed on the ruins of early Nabataean structures north of Avdat at Horvat Ma'agora. Milestones have been found on along the Petra Gaza road north at Avdat between Avdat and Horvat Ma'agora and further up the road towards Halutza (Elusa). The early town was heavily damaged by a major (probably local) earthquake, sometime in the early 5th century CE. In the ruins of this destruction a Nabataean inscription, in black ink on plaster, was found bearing a blessing of the Nabataean god, Dushara. The inscription was written by the plasterer, one Ben-Gadya. This is the latest Nabataean inscription ever found in Israel. A wall was built around the later town, including a large area of man-made caves, some of which were partially inhabited in the Byzantine period. Under Byzantine rule, in fifth and 6th century, a citadel and a monastery with two churches were built on the acropolis of Avdat. Saint Theodore's Church is the most interesting Byzantine relic in Avdat. Marble tombstones inserted in the floor are covered with Greek inscriptions. St. Theodore was a Greek martyr of the 4th century. The Monastery stands next to the church and nearby a lintel is carved with lions and it marks the entrance to the castle. The town was totally destroyed by a local earthquake in the early 7th century and was never reinhabited.

Read More

Travel to Avdat

Avdat is an archaeological location in the Negev region of southern Israel, now preserved as a National Park and host to thousands of visitors each year, attracted by the atmospheric desert location, the quietly spectacular Nabataean ruins and insights into desert ecology and lifestyle. It is the filming location for Jesus Christ Superstar.

Read More

Ancient History of Avdat

Before the end of the 1st century BCE a temple platform (the acropolis) was created along the western edge of the plateau. Recent excavations have shown that the town continued to be inhabited by the Nabataeans continuously from this period until its destruction by earthquake in the early 7th century CE. Sometime towards the end of the 1st century BCE the Nabataeans began using a new route between the site of Moyat Awad in the Arabah valley and Avdat by way of Makhtesh Ramon. Nabataean or Roman Nabataean sites have been found at excavated at Moyat Awad (mistakenly called Moa of the 6th century CE Madeba Map), Qatzra, Har Masa, Mezad Nekarot, Sha'ar Ramon (Khan Saharonim), Mezad Ma'ale Mahmal and Grafon. Avdat continued to prosper as a major station along the Petra-Gaza road after the Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE. Avdat, like other towns in the central Negev highlands, adjusted to the cessation of international trade through the region in the early to mid 3rd century by adopting agriculture, and particularly the production of wine, as its means of subsistence. Numerous terraced farms and water channels were built throughout the region in order to collect enough run-off from winter rains to support agriculture in the hyper arid zone of southern Israel. At least five wine presses dated to the Byzantine period have been found at the site. [Wikipedia]

Read More

Avdat in Wikipedia

Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎, from Arabic: عبدات‎, Abdat), also known as Ovdat or Obodat was the most important historic city on the Incense Route after Petra between the 7th and the 1st centuries BCE. It was inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans and Byzantines.[1] It was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra - Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd - late 2nd century BCE. Avdat was named for Nabataean King Obodas I who was revered as a deity and, according to tradition, was buried there.

Read More