Byzantine period monastery and church uncovered in Israel (12 images)

An 1,500 year old Byzantine Period monastery and church was uncovered during large scale excavations in Beit Shemesh, Israel, on Wednesday. The Byzantine structure was discovered during excavations prior to the expansion of Ramat Beit Shemesh for housing. Artifacts were found and a number of architectural elements including a marble pillar base decorated with crosses and marble window screens. The artifacts found may indicate that the site was important to ancient pilgrims in the Judean Shephelah region. Photos by Debbie Hill/UPI
Updated: Dec. 20, 2017 at 12:38 PM
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Naftali Aizik, an archeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, shows an imported marble column base discovered in an 1,500 year old Byzantine Period monastery and church.
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A close up of Maltese cross found on an imported marble column base discovered in an 1,500 year old Byzantine Period monastery and church. The Maltese Cross is associated with the Knights of Malta, also known as the Knights of St. John, who ruled the Maltese islands in the Mediterranean between 1530 and 1798.
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Naftali Aizik, an archeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, shows a Maltese cross.
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The eight points also represent the eight nationalities that fought including, Auvergne, Provence, France, Aragon, Castille and Portugal, Italy, Baviere (Germany), and England (along with Scotland and Ireland).
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Naftali Aizik shows a cross and other artifacts that were discovered.
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Naftali Aizik holds an oil lamp from the Islamic period.
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Naftali Aizik kneels in the remains of an 1,5000 year old Byzantine Period monastery and church that was uncovered.
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