The June edition of Atiqot, an Israeli research journal, illumines the Christianity of a Byzantine settlement from old Galilee, destroyed by Persian invaders in 613 AD. Archeologists have just finished their analysis of this site, which was partially unearthed in 2007 at Pi Mazuva, in northwestern Israel.
“While for now, we have no documents from Christian sources about this settlement, all the evidence points to an almost entirely Christian population,” Gilad Cinamon, a researcher with Israel Antiquities Authority, told Haaretz Newspaper.
The site includes Christian iconography, a large house, and a colorful, high-quality, partially preserved mosaic floor. In addition to the mosaic, researchers also found pottery, a bronze cross, Arab-Byzantine coins, a rare sixth-century bronze weight and stones with crosses carved into them.
The room contained Christian objects but did not appear to be a chapel, but a hall used to entertain guests in an affluent family’s farmhouse.
The site was first discovered in 2007 during road construction and has only been partially excavated. A community near the site today preserves the Byzantine-era name and is called Kibbutz Metzuba.
According to the researchers, there were about 140 Christian settlements in the region during this era, including 63 churches or monasteries. Another 13 settlements had a mixed population. Many of these Christian sites in the Galilee were destroyed in the Persian invasion.