Archaeologists discovered traces of an ancient Jewish settlement at the site of the abandoned military training base at Beit El in Samaria, East Israel. The site dates back to Iron Age, and was occupied in the Persian, Hellenistic and Hasmonean periods until the Roman Era.
The researchers of the Archaeology Department of the IDF Civil Administration believe that after the Roman Era the site remained abandoned for years and resettled in the Byzantine period, by a Christian population, consisting probably of monks who built a monastery. Excavations conducted at the site revealed remains of a church, a dining room that was used by the monks, and a bathhouse that has been very well-preserved. Among other finds house-door keys, tools used during the period of Jewish settlement, and seal types belonging to the period of Jewish occupation of the site were discovered. The Byzantine settlement continued to exist until the 7th century Muslim invasion, when it was destroyed, the Christian settlers were expelled, and a Muslim population took their place. Remains from that period include warehouses with a large number of jars that were used for trading in olive oil. The researchers believe that the site was destroyed one last time in the great earthquake of 748 AD.
(after The Jewish Press)