‘Atiqot, 78 (2014)
A Byzantine Monastery and Islamic-Period Settlement Remains at Horbat Ma‘on
Pirhiya Nahshoni and Gregory Seriy
At Horbat Ma‘on, located in the northwestern Negev, three areas were opened (A–C) and six strata (I–VI) were discerned. The strata date from the Late Roman–early Byzantine to the Late Islamic (fourteenth century CE) periods. In Stratum V, dated to the late Byzantine period, a well-planned complex was erected, consisting of several buildings and at least two streets. The finds included local and imported pottery vessels. Gypsum stoppers were found in one of the rooms, two of them bore the embossed forms of a lion and a cross. The architecture and finds from Stratum V indicate that this must have been a civil center in the Byzantine period. In Stratum IV, dated to the end of the Byzantine period, a church was built. The finds included a bread stamp adorned with a cross and an inscription mentioning the name Stephen. The nature of the architecture and the finds from Strata IV and V point to the existence of a monastery and a church dedicated to St. Stephen at the site.
A Bread Stamp from Horbat Ma‘on
Leah Di Segni
A pottery bread stamp was discovered in Stratum IV at Horbat Ma‘on, dated to the end of the Byzantine period. The bread stamp has a disk-shaped base and a round knob handle. The handle top is decorated with a cross and the base of the stamp bears a Greek inscription that reads: “Blessing of (Saint?) Stephen”. The inscription indicates that the stamp was used for preparing buns that were handed out at a church as a memento of a visit to that church. It is proposed that the excavated complex at Horbat Ma‘on included a church of St. Stephen and possibly served as the residence of the bishop of Menois.
Coins from Horbat Ma‘on
Donald T. Ariel and Ariel Berman
Of the 129 coins found at Horbat Ma‘on, 56 could be identified. The earliest coins date to the first century BCE–first century CE through the first half of the third century CE—these may not be related to the settlement at the site. The coins from the last third of the third century until the first quarter of the fifth century CE seem to reflect the Stratum VI occupation there. Strata V–IV are represented by coins later than 423 until the seventh century CE. The remainder of the coins date to the late seventh through ninth centuries CE (Stratum III) and the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries CE (Strata II–I).