Khirbet Midras (Arabic) or Horvat Midras (Hebrew) is one of several antiquities sites located inside the Adullam Grove National Park, an Israel Nature Reserve south of Beit Shemesh. Khirbet Midras dates to the 10th century BC until the 4th century AD. Site excavations have revealed a Byzantine era church, burial caves and tunnels used by rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt, a columbarium cave and a burial pyramid.
In 2011, the Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) unveiled the remnants of a Byzantine church have been excavated in the Judean Hills southwest of Jerusalem at Khirbet Midras. The small basilica with an exquisitely decorated floor is believed to have been active between the 5th and 7th centuries AD. According to the dig’s leader, Amir Ganor of the IAA, the floor is “one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years.”
Initially thought to be a synagogue, excavations revealed stones carved with crosses, leading to its identification as a church. Beneath the church is another structure dating to the Roman Era. And underneath it is a network of tunnels hewn into the rock, which archaeologists believe were used by Jewish rebels fighting Roman armies in the second century AD.
At the time IAA made its announcement regarding the remnants of the 5th century basilica, Ganor said the church would be covered until funds were obtained to open it as a tourist site. My understanding is the excavation site is still covered.
Read the IAA press release: Byzantine Church & Mosaic Floor Uncovered At Hirbet Madras
In 2013, in an effort to learn more about Khirbet Madras’ residents, archaeologists excavated a handful of pyramid-topped underground tombs. It seems Judeans erected pyramids over tombs to honor their deaded during the end of the First Century through Second Century. In the book of 1 Maccabees, Simon Maccabee is stated to have built monuments atop the tombs of his mother, father and brothers at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt.
The Khirbet Midras pyramid is believed to be the largest and best preserved burial monuments in Israel dating to the Second Temple period. The structure stands 12 feet tall, it’s base is approximately 33 square feet and it has 5 tiers of cut limestone blocks.
Read the full article in the Times of Israel: Archaeologists to Probe Ancient Pyramid in Judean Hills.
From BibleWalks.com YouTube Video Description: “his video was captured by a drone that descended into the large underground columbarium – a housing structure for dove and pigeons. This cave, dated to the Hellenistic and Roman period, was used to raise the birds for their meat and eggs, fertilizing material and other uses. The drone descends down into the opening and scans the housing openings where the birds nested.”
Check out this 360 degrees Google image of a burial cave at Khirbet Midras here.
As you can see Khirbet Midras offers a lot for visitors to explore. If you’re considering a journey to Israel be sure to check out our Israel Tour itineraries for believers. Coral Travel & Tours wants to encourage you on this experience of a lifetime. If you have questions we’d love to hear from you, call us at 866-267-2511.