Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hasmonean Hometown of Modiin

In advance of the coming Hanukkah celebration, the Jerusalem Post has an article on possible locations of Modiin and the area.  An excerpt:

At Umm el-Umdan, an Arab village close to the southern entrance of Modi'in, excavations have unearthed the remains of a Hasmonean village including a row of houses, a marketplace, a ritual bath and a synagogue. The discovery of the synagogue, the only remnant still exposed and accessible for public viewing, has led some archeologists to propose that Umm el-Umdan is the site of ancient Modi'in, the hometown of revolt leaders and priestly Hasmonean family.

They claim the synagogue is evidence of the settlement at Umm el-Umdan's importance. Yet others argue that the remains of ancient Modi'in can be found at Titura Hill, the site of a spectacular Crusader-era fortress at the edge of modern-day Modi'in. Excavations at the fortress have revealed remnants from various periods including those depicting a Hasmonean-era settlement. Proponents of the Titura Hill theory claim that the settlement's vast dimensions are a point in the site's favor as the Hasmoneans often constructed large structures to demonstrate their importance.

According to Amit Re'em, Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist for the Modi'in district, the above assertions should be viewed with caution. "As signs declaring the names of the unearthed settlements were not discovered, any evidence that either location is more likely to be that of ancient Modi'in than any another Hasmonean village is purely circumstantial... and thus such claims are no more than speculation."

You can read the rest here.

HT: Joe Lauer