A monumental building at the coastal site of Tel ‘Afar, on the Via Maris—the road linking Antioch and Alexandria, was previously identified as the villa of a wealthy citizen of Caesarea. A new geological and archaeological survey at the site and re-examination of the findings from previous excavations, provide a new interpretation of the function and character of this building. Taken together, the analysis of the ceramic assemblage and the architectural plan along with the elements, all suggest that the structure was a Christian basilica, dated to the Byzantine period (6th–mid-7th centuries ce). Therefore, this evidence calls for a revaluation and classification of Tel ‘Afar either as a monastery or church on a private coastal estate.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to Yosef Porath (IAA; retired) for the permission to publish the finds from his excavations at Tel ‘Afar and for providing us unpublished data from the excavation, Samuel Wolff (IAA Archives), Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer (IAA Marine Unit), and Rebecca Cohen-Amin (IAA National Treasury Department) for their support, and Sapir ‘Ad for preparing the illustrations of this article.
© Palestine Exploration Fund 2022.
- Byzantine Palestine
- Tel ‘Afar
- basilica churches
- private estates
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Religious studies