A large and majestic system of pools from the Byzantine period (4th–6th centuries CE), a fragment of a capital typical of royal structures and estates in the First Temple period, and a rare silver coin from the 4th century BCE—one of the most ancient ever unearthed in the Jerusalem area, were found in excavations at Ein Hanniya, south-west of Jerusalem, just inches west of the 1967 green line.
These remarkable finds were unearthed in Israel Antiquities Authority excavations at the site of Ein Hanniya between 2012 and 2016. The area will open to the public in the coming months.
The excavations, headed by IAA archaeologists Irina Zilberbod and Yaakov Billig, under the direction of the Jerusalem district archaeologist, Dr. Yuval Baruch, were carried out as part of the establishment of the Ein Hanniya park, were financed by the Jerusalem Development Authority in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and were complemented by conservation and development work by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Conservation Administration.
Similar capitals have been found in the City of David in Jerusalem, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, and in Ramat Rachel, where one of the palaces of the kings of Judah was found. Such capitals were also found in Samaria, Megiddo, and Khatzor, which were major cities in the Kingdom of Israel.
According to the archaeologists, the site at Ein Hanniya may have been a royal estate at the time of the First Temple. After the destruction of the First Temple, settlement may have been renewed at the site in the form of an estate house that was inhabited by Jews.
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The coins, pottery, glass, roof tiles and multicolored mosaic tesserae (individual tile used in creating a mosaic) from the Byzantine period which were unearthed in the excavation attest to the fact that it was during this period (4th–6th centuries CE) that the site reached its peak.
According to Jerusalem District Archaeologist Dr. Yuval Baruch, “we believe that some early Christian commentators identified Ein Hanniya as the site where the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized, as described in Acts 8:26–40. The baptism of the eunuch by St. Philip was one of the key events in the spread of Christianity. Therefore, identifying the place where it occurred occupied scholars for many generations and became a common motif in Christian art. It’s no wonder that part of the site is still owned by Christians and is a focus of religious ceremonies, both for the Armenian Church (which owns the property) and the Ethiopian Church.”
From, Breaking Israel News.