New Discoveries From The Period Of The Bar-Kochba Revolt (Archeology)

Archaeological finds recently discovered in the Wadi Rashash Basin in southeastern Samaria may refute accepted assumptions about the period of the revolt

In the summer of 2020, Dr. Dvir Raviv of the Department of Israel Studies and Archeology at Bar-Ilan University conducted an archeological survey in the Wadi Rashash Basin in southeastern Samaria. The Jewish population in the area between the Great Revolt and the Bar Kochba Revolt.

The two sites near the settlement of Wadi Rashash are Horbat Jaba’it and Horbat al-Marjim. A large mapping system (documented as early as the 1980s) was re-mapped at Horbat Jaba’it, where pottery fragments – mainly jars and cooking pots – were found for the first time, allowing its installation to be dated to the days of the Bar Kochba revolt (136-132). A dozen coins from the Second Temple period were found on the ruins – from the Hasmonean period, from the days of Agrippa I, from the days of the emperors Claudius and Nero and a coin from the second year of the Great Revolt (68-67) bearing the inscription “Herut Zion”.

coin

A large, branched hiding system was discovered in Horbat al-Marjim, in addition to a system documented in a previous survey at the site. Dozens of fragments of pottery, glass and metal vessels dating to two periods – Iron Age 2 (8th-9th centuries BCE) and the days of the Bar-Kochba revolt were found in the cavities. Rome.

On the northern cliff of the Wadi Rashash Canyon, which stretches east of the Great Waterfall, were found three natural cave complexes in which evidence of human use in ancient times was discovered. The inhabitants of these caves enjoyed both the proximity to the inhabited area and the proximity to natural water sources – Ein Rashash and Ein Duma. Wadi Rashash Cave is the most prominent of the caves surveyed and is located in the eastern part of the canyon, c. 200 m east of the waterfall. The opening of the cave is located at the bottom of a vertical and slightly stepped cliff, c. 30 m above the creek channel.

In view of the crumbling nature of the cliff rocks it is possible that in ancient times the cave was larger and in the past centuries part of its ceiling collapsed. This option is supported by a relatively large amount of pottery found at the site and may teach about a relatively large group of refugees who fled to this cave. Antiquities robbers who have visited the cave in recent years have emptied much of the cave’s contents while creating a large dirt estuary at the front. In the mounds of dirt at the bottom of the cave and in the estuary at the front, the survey team discovered many finds that were probably brought to the site by Jewish refugees at the end of the Bar-Kochba revolt, as well as two potsherds – a jar and a bowl – from the Iron Age 2.

coin

The Bar Kochba finds include pottery fragments – mainly jars and cooking pots – as well as a bronze coin from the third year of the Bar Kochba revolt (135-134 AD). The inside of the coin is decorated with a musical instrument, probably a violin, and around it is the inscription “Shimon” (Bar-Kochba’s first name); On the back is a palm tree in a wreath, surrounded by the inscription “To Herut Yerushalayim”, from which a few letters survived. The palm is a symbol of victory, and the violin, being one of the vessels of the temple,  expresses a longing for a temple that was a sword at that time.

The location of Wadi Rashash Cave, only about a kilometer and a half from Horbat Jabit and Horbat al-Marjim, sites where hiding systems from the Second Revolt were discovered, suggests that the origin of the refugees who fled to the cave in question was from these sites.

The bar-Kochba coin from Wadi Rashash indicates the presence of a Jewish population in the area until the end of the Bar-Kochba revolt, in contrast to a claim previously made in a study that the Jewish settlement north of Jerusalem was destroyed during the Great Revolt and not blown afterwards. According to Dr. Raviv, several dozen refugees probably hid in the caves of Wadi Rashash, and in all the dozens of known refuge caves throughout Eretz Yehuda and especially in the desert, thousands of refugees hid . The coin with the inscription “Shimon” is the first evidence Roman, ruled by the manager of Bar-Kochba.

Coin, cave and rebellion

Coin photography: Tal Rogovsky

Photo by Wadi Rashash (above): Yehezkel Blumstein 

Photo of the cave (below): Dvir Raviv


Provided by Bar-Ilan University

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