Underground explorations at Horvat Qasra, southern Judean foothills, Israel

Translated title of the contribution: מחקר חללים תת-קרקעיים חצובים בחורבת קצרה, דרום שפלת יהודה

Boaz Zissu, A. Kloner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Horvat Qasra is located on a hilltop in the southern Judean Foothills, Israel. The site consists of a central building, with rooms built arround an inner courtyard; A well-built tower stands at the corner of the architectural complex. Its foundations are protected by a sloping wall (protechisma) on the outside, an architectural type known from elsewhere in Judea. Under the main building, a typical rock-cut hiding complex was explored. It included three underground installations, linked by narrow, low and winding burrows. Additional rock-cut cavities were carved into the soft chalk of the slopes surrounding the architectural complex: underground quarries, two cross-shaped columbaria installationsand some cisterns. According to architectural parallels from other Judean sites, and due to the absence of dating archaeological material, we suggest that the underground installations were rock-cut initially during the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods. They were used for chalk quarrying, storage of water and agricultural products, underneath the buildings of a fortified estate. During the preparations of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, the installations' original openingswere blocked and they were interconnected by typical burrows. The system was used by the local residents for hiding purposes, apparently during this revolt. In the southern part of the site, a Jewish rock-cut burial complex from the 1st-2nd centuries CE was excavated. During the Byzantine period (5th c. CE), the burial complex was transformed into a Christian chapel; Numerous inscriptions and graffiti, mostly Greek, incised on its walls attest that Holy Salome was worshipped here until the Early Islamic period
Translated title of the contributionמחקר חללים תת-קרקעיים חצובים בחורבת קצרה, דרום שפלת יהודה
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication HYPOGEA2019
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of International Congress of Speleology in Artificial Caves
EditorsA. Zhalov, V. Gyorev, P. Delchev
PublisherInternational Union of Speleology
ISBN (Print)978-619-7526-01-1
StatePublished - 2019


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