An impressive church from the Byzantine era has been discovered in the Hermon Stream Nature Reserve, better known as the Banias, in the northern Golan Heights.
The findings from the church, dated to around 400 C.E., include a mosaic floor decorated with crosses, and a large dressed stone with signs of crosses, which may well have been incised by the pilgrims who visited the church.
The church was built on top of an older Roman era temple dedicated to the god Pan (which is where the name Banias comes from).
“The church commemorates one of the many events attributed to the place in the New Testament,” said IAA archaeologists Dr. David Yeger and Dr. Amit Re’em.
The archaeologists also discovered an underground cavity, identified as a Second Temple-period ritual bath, near the modern Church of Gethsemane.
The excavation is part of a larger project to conserve archaeological sites located in areas protected by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.