Israeli Archaeologists Discover Possible Burial Place of the Maccabees

Israeli Archaeologists Discover Possible Burial Place of the Maccabees

Israeli archaeologists think they may have uncovered the ancient tomb of the Maccabees. reports that a large mausoleum resembling the description of the Maccabees’ burial tomb in ancient manuscripts has been uncovered near the city of Modi’in, 19 miles northwest of Jerusalem.

The Maccabees were a celebrated Jewish family who led an uprising against the Greeks in the second century B.C. Archaeologists have long thought that the Maccabees’ burial place was near Modi’in.

Ancient texts such as The Book of the Maccabees and the Antiquities of the Jews describe the Maccabees’ resting place as being a tall, impressive structure surrounded by columns, with pyramid-like roofs that could be seen from the sea.

Amit Re’em who managed the excavation of the tomb for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that the recently discovered tomb certainly bears a resemblance to the one described in the ancient texts.

Although there is evidence that suggests this tomb is the tomb of the Maccabees, scholars are still waiting on more conclusive evidence.

Some scholars question the claim that this is the tomb of a Jewish family because an excavation of the tomb by Charles Clermont-Ganneau in the late nineteenth century revealed mosaics adorned with a cross on the floor of the burial vaults, causing scholars to think that the tomb may be a Christian tomb instead of a Jewish one.

Re’em stated that his crew “re-exposed the tomb chamber and the mosaeic with the decoration of the cross.”

Despite the Christian symbol of the cross, some archaeologists still think this could be the Maccabees’ tomb because the Maccabees were held in high esteem by early Christians and they could have decorated the tomb with the cross at a later date.

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Publication date: September 22, 2015