Gaza: New archaeological discovery in St. Hilarion Monastery

Gaza: New archaeological discovery in St. Hilarion Monastery
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IslamNews – In cooperation with French antiquities specialists, archaeology specialists on the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities within the Gaza Strip discovered a number of Byzantine graves on the St. Hilarion Monastery archaeological website within the western Gaza Strip.

The invention of the graves got here as a part of a brand new section of excavation work carried out by a French mission on the monastery website in early 2021 to uncover extra secrets and techniques and collectibles and to work on restoring and preserving the stays of the monuments inside.

The location of St. Hilarion was found by likelihood by some Palestinian employees who accumulate scrap in that space in 1990. When the Israeli Antiquities Authority realized about it, it took management of the place and carried out excavations for years, earlier than the institution of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of stealing almost 60% of the positioning’s antiquities, together with massive marble columns and gold and copper utensils that had been utilized by the monks, which had been transferred to the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. In the meantime, all of the efforts of the French missions excavating on the website and the PA didn’t persuade Israel to return the stolen objects.

Historic info signifies that St. Hilarion, who was born circa A.D. 291 within the village of Tabatha, south of Gaza Metropolis, went to Egypt to review, transformed to Christianity and have become a scholar of St. Anthony. Upon his return to Gaza in A.D. 306, he took a secluded place of worship in an space regionally generally known as Inform Umm Amer within the western Gaza Strip, and the development of the monastery started in 329.

Rene Elter, a French archaeologist and director of restoration on the St. Hilarion website, informed Al-Monitor that the three new graves found date again to the sixth century. He expects to find extra services and collectibles contained in the monastery, whose space exceeds 15,000 sq. meters.

He identified that each one the graves found took the east-west route, and he believes the bones that had been discovered contained in the graves belonged to both the monks or the individuals who had been visiting the place for worship.

Elter defined that the excavations, which have been carried out for 25 years on the website, are intermittent, going down in an space of 8,000 sq. meters of the positioning’s whole space, whereas an space of seven,000 sq. meters is but to be excavated.

He famous that the St. Hilarion Monastery is among the largest and oldest holy monasteries within the Palestinian territories and the Center East, declaring that Hilarion launched monasticism to the Palestinian territories, and that’s the reason he is named the daddy of Palestinian monasticism.

Elter added that due to the donations made by many worldwide establishments excited by preserving antiquities and heritage, work to uncover, restore and protect the positioning’s antiquities is progressing nicely, noting that the positioning wants numerous assist to be able to be preserved.

The St. Hilarion website, which is barely dozens of meters from the beachfront within the central Gaza Strip, features a church complicated, many basements, a chapel, a bathhouse, bathtubs, the monks’ residence, a courtyard and water nicely, and graves of many monks and pilgrims who used to make the pilgrimage to the monastery from all around the Center East.

Since Palestine turned a member of UNESCO in 2001, it has ready a listing of 20 Palestinian archaeological websites to register on the UNESCO preliminary record for inclusion on the World Heritage Checklist, together with the St. Hilarion Monastery.

Fadel al-Otel, a technical skilled within the restoration and upkeep of monuments and one of many supervisors of the St. Hilarion website, informed Al-Monitor that the found graves are present process research, and a few samples had been taken from them to seek out out the identification of the figures who had been buried inside.

He defined that lots of the archaeological discoveries which are made every so often on the website are preserved of their locations after they’re restored and coated with a layer of sand, whereas some components are transferred to many museums within the Gaza Strip for public show.

Otel famous that through the years of excavation and restoration, the stays of almost 70 folks had been discovered on the website, declaring that dozens of Palestinian researchers and graduates of historical past and archaeology departments from Palestinian universities help the French missions that excavate the positioning and protect its antiquities.

Source: BBC

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