The Texas Foundation for Archaeological & Historical Research
Plan of excavations at Zur Natan
Aerial view of the excavations;
synagogue - church and sheik's
tomb to the left
TFAHR Photo Album - Zur Natan (Antesion), Israel.
General view of the excavations;
sheik's tomb atop synagogue -
Aerial view of the excavations;
synagogue - church and sheik's
tomb in foreground
Apse of synagogue - church;
grooves for chancel screen
Clearing the apse of the synagogue - church;
sheik's tomb in background
Clearing the pavement between the
sheik's tomb and the benches of the
synagogue - church
Rooms of the original Jewish settlement
beneath the courtyard of the synagogue -
Remains of a basalt grindstone
Uncovering the central mosaic medallion in the
Tracing the central mosaic medallion in the
The central mosaic medallion in the synagogue - church.
The inscription reads:
The inscription was probably laid down when the structure was a
synagogue.  When the synagogue was converted into a church, the
mosaic was left largely intact.  It is not certain whether the damage
the mosaic sustained was deliberate (something eradicated as
being offensive to Christianity), or just the result of wear and tear
over the ages.
Capital (mid-5th century AD) found atop the
mosaic of the synagogue - church.
Cleaning a mosaic of what may have been a
small mosque or prayer hall of the early Islamic
period (7-9th century AD)
Staircased entrance into the
underground tunnel and
cistern system
Crawling through the
underground tunnels
Wall partially blocking a tunnel leading
from a cistern
Sherds of glass vessels, and lumps
of raw glass
Two views of the luster painted
cup, found in a rubbish pit; dated to
the late 8th century AD
Collection of mostly "Samaritan"
lamps, 3rd - 8th century AD
Three marble chancel posts, found near the entrance to a
pit.  Marble is not indigenous to this region.  The chancel
posts could have served to cordon off the sacred area to
both the synagogue and the church.  The holes drilled for
crosses in the tops of the posts indicate that they were
definitively used when the building became a church.  The
different designs and heights of the three chancel posts
present something of a problem, as to how they may have
been placed in the chancel screen.
Samaritan tomb cut into the living rock;
note rolling cover stone at left of
Samaritan miqvah (ritual bath) near
entrance to the synagogue
Columbarium carved into the bedrock
Pottery kiln
Reconstruction of an olive oil press found in
the excavations of Zur Natan
Site Map
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TFAHR Site Photo Albums
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