[Magazine] The Biblical Archaeologist. Vol. 40. No 4

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To the left, a stone door still capable of turning on its hinges, remains. The door imitates a wooden door, studded with nails. was a discovery indeed! Obviously the extensive underground necropolis just discovered belonged to the town whose remains were hidden in the ruins of Sheikh Abreik. This meant that this location must have been the site of ancient Beth Shearim, since it was known from the literature that Beth Shearim had a large cemetery to which Jews from the Diaspora were brought for burial.

170 ... here was a kind of posthumous ingathering of the Jewish people who had been dispersed beyond the borders of the Holy Land. The excavations at Sheikh Abreik extended over four seasons, between 1936 and 1939. A total of 11 catacombs were cleared, and in addition the synagogue at the top of the mound was excavated. In Catacomb no. 1, 16 "halls" with their openings and stone doors were exposed. These halls had many rooms with numerous burial niches cut in their walls. Approximately 400 such niches were counted.

One of these was found to have a collapsed roof and was inaccessible. The other two, although robbed in antiquity and 163 reusedsince then by Bedouins,provedto be typicalof the Iron II period. Thisfind has reopened speculation concerning the identificationof the site with biblical Rimmon (see below). ) Remains of the Late Roman and Byzantine periods are very much in evidence at and around the site. The primarysettlementseemsto have been established at the foot of the tell along the northeastslopes where large natural caves invited habitation.

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