Byzantine-Era Church Discovered During Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road Construction
JNS.org – Road workers doing construction on a highway leading from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem have unearthed a large Byzantine-era road station and church.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the archaeological find was discovered outside of the town of Abu Gosh and is thought to be approximately 1,500 years old. The uncovered church is about 52 feet long, with a side chapel measuring 21 feet long and 11.5 feet wide that has a mosaic floor.
“Fragments of red-colored plaster found in the rubble strewn throughout the building showed that the church walls had been decorated with frescoes,” the IAA said. “To the west of the church were rooms that were probably used as dwelling quarters and for storage. One of them contained a large quantity of pottery tiles.”
Numerous different items—including oil lamps, coins, special glass vessels, marble fragments, and mother-of-pearl shells—were also found at the site, indicating that it was a busy area for travelers.
The church and road station were built along a Roman-era road that also linked Jerusalem with the coastal plain. The church fell into disuse towards the end of the Byzantine era, but the road itself has continued to be used through modern times.