Hiding complexes in fortified sites of the Bar Kokhba war

Dvir Raviv

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Hiding complexes are among the well-attested archaeological remains of Roman-period Jewish settlement sites. Found chiefly in the Judean Lowlands and Lower Galilee, they consist of rock-cut subterranean facilities that are linked by an intricate network of narrow passageways and burrows, creating a sort of labyrinth beneath the settlement. In this article I propose a phenomenon that has not previously been addressed in the literature: namely, the association of hiding complexes with fortified settlements and forts from the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. The most conspicuous feature of these systems is that they permit movement underground from a fortified built-up area to the outskirts of the settlement or the open land beyond it. On the basis of an examination of the features, territorial extent and geographical distribution of the most prominent examples, and a comparison with the tunnels at Herodium, I propose that they were an important and planned defensive element of Bar Kokhba’s military strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-302
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

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cOpyRIgHT © Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, 2023.


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