Shalom. My name is Dr. Oren Gutfeld. I’m an archaeologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. I have been the Director of the Beit Lehi excavations since October of 2005. I would like to welcome you for a tour of the site today. The site of Beit Lehi is a well known new site in the land of Israel. We started the excavation in October 2005 and we’re digging twice a year for a period of three weeks each time in the last seven years. This site is very significant; and so far, we have uncovered more than eight or nine columbaria (which are dovecotes), eight olive presses, a ritual bath, the Byzantine Chapel, the Byzantine mosaic floor from the chapel, and other significant finds.
The date of the site dates from the First Temple Period, from the eighth or the seventh century BCE, and was discovered when an important and significant burial cave was found late in the sixties. Inside the burial cave, seven ancient inscriptions were found, one of them mentioning the first time the exact name of God in the city of Jerusalem. Recently, we have uncovered the mosaic floor of the Byzantine Chapel, the olive presses, the ritual bath which tells us about the people who used to live here since ancient times. We know that Edomites, Pagans, Jews in the Second Temple Period, and Christians in the Byzantine Period lived here in ancient times. The site was in occupation until the thirteenth or the fourteenth century CE when the Mamluk, a later Islamic people, were held here at the site and abandoned it in the thirteenth century. I would like to welcome you to each of the sites that we have uncovered here. On each site I’m going to show you the significance of the site, the dates, and the most important thing on each site inside.