BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Marble Pillar Sheds Light on Byzantine Church

Police stumble upon pillar while on patrol

Two cops standing by the Byzantine pillar

Two police officers next to the large Byzantine pillar discovered in Ashdod, Israel. Courtesy Shira Lifshitz, Israel Antiquities Authority.

While patrolling the beach in Ashdod, Israel, two police officers stumbled upon an incredible find, a marble pillar that probably once stood in a nearby Byzantine church. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the exquisite marble pillar, which measures 5 feet long, was originally part of a large church that was built in Ashdod about 1,500 years ago.   

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“Finding a complete pillar in this condition is a very rare find,” said IAA archaeologist Avi Levy in an interview with the Jerusalem Post. “This find is very important because it gives us a rare peek through the window of that period, and the wholeness of the pillar is impressive.”  

Large marble pulled from the beach.

Massive marble pillar pulled from the sand of Ashdod’s beach. Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority.

During the Byzantine period (c. 324634 C.E.), Ashdod, known then as Azotos Paralios, was one of the most important coastal cities of the region, and its large cathedral and Roman cardo were included in the famous Madaba Map. The city is located on the Mediterranean coast, around 25 miles south of modern Tel Aviv. In Byzantine times, Ashdod was home to a large church that was discovered in an excavation by Tel Aviv University in 2017. Among the finds were a number of memorial tombs dedicated to men and women who were deacons in the city’s early Christian community. Excavations also discovered the tomb of a female martyr located in the church apse. 


Read more in the Bible History Daily:

Massive Fortification Wall Protecting Assyrian Harbor Excavated Near Ashdod

Byzantine Church Dedicated to “Glorious Martyr” Discovered Near Jerusalem

Possible Byzantine Monastery Exposed near Beth Shemesh

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