Gideon Hadas & Dr.
Ein Gedi is one of the most
beautiful places in the world, if not the most… a combination of stony desert
mountains, green oasis fed by mountain springs and the many-coloured Dead Sea,
the lowest place in the world. Its geology and history are equally fascinating.
The ancient Jewish village of Ein Gedi was inhabited in Biblical times and
destroyed and rebuilt again and again over the centuries. Before the founding
of kibbutz Ein Gedi in 1956 it had not been inhabited for 500 years.
The Ein Gedi
oasis site lies at the foot of the Judean Mountains, on the western shore of
the Dead Sea, between the nature reserves of Nahal David and Nahal Arugoth. In
between is the settlement spur, where the village was built over the period of
many years and where, at the eastern part, is the Byzantine period synagogue,
roofed today by a large tent. To the north and to the east are plantations of
date palms of kibbutz Ein Gedi. To the west, high above the settlement is the
vast Judean desert.
Last January we united the excavated part of the village from the Hirschfld excavation with the ancient synagogue's adjacent houses.
Therefore, in February 2017 we intend to complete Hirschfeld's excavations on the northern side of the village where there was previously a metal pipe.
Ein Gedi village is the only Jewish settlement from the 6th Century that has been exposed on the shores of the Dead Sea.
The first excavations in Ein Gedi, directed by
Professor B. Mazar in the 60's, uncovered the First Temple settlement at Tel
Goren and the Chalcolithic temple. In the 70's Professor D. Barag and Dr. Y. Porat
excavated the Byzantine synagogue and started to reveal a few buildings. In
1995 I cleaned the alleys and bulks that remained there since the 70's.
From 1996-2002 Professor Y. Hirschfeld uncovered the
adjoining Byzantine village. I worked with him during these seven years as an area
After Professor Hirschfeld announced that he was ending his
work in Ein Gedi, I took upon myself to carry on the study of the oasis. In
this I was encouraged and helped by a devoted team of international volunteers who
understand the importance of continuing this work. So was born the archaeological expedition of the Ein Gedi
During 2003 - 2010 we, the Ein Gedi Oasis Excavations expedition,
uncovered part of a Jewish village from the late Second Temple (Roman) period. We
have uncovered some ten houses all of the same period, complete with the clay
vessels used by their inhabitants and the ovens where every family baked its
own bread and meals. We also exposed an alley between the houses and now have a
better understanding of the rural Jewish settlement which was here ca. 2000
Since 2011 on, we revealed some dwelling houses by the
ancient synagogue of the village of the 6th C.E. such as "Halfi
House" and "Halfi Son House". In 2015 Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat of
the Hebrew university in Jerusalem Joined me.
Over the years of
excavations it became clear that the Jewish settlement in Ein Gedi began at the
end of the First Temple Period in the 7th century BCE, and ended in the 6th century
CE. That is to say, in the Ein Gedi oasis, Jewish settlement existed
continuously for about a thousand years. It was assumed that all during this period,
the permanent dwellings of the settlement in Ein Gedi were only built along
the natural ridge on which lies Tel Goren and the Byzantine village.
Ultimately, we envisage a complete
archaeological park between the two
nature reserves of Nahal David and Nahal
Arugoth encompassing Jewish
settlement from the First Temple,
Roman and Byzantine periods.
The excavations and processing the finds rely exclusively on
donations, which can be sent to:
Israel Exploration Society - Ein Gedi Oasis Excavations directed
by G. Hadas
POB 7041, 5 Avida St., Jerusalem 91070, Israel
Bank Hapoalim , Branch 690
King George St. 16, Jerusalem, Israel
Account no. 100497
Name of the account: Israel
Ein Gedi Oasis Excavations directed
by G. Hadas
Instructions for transfer of funds via P.E.F.:
To: P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds,
317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607, New York, NY 10017, USA
Attention: Mr. Ben Harrison Frankel,