The Mountain of Judah
and the Shephelah
64. Betomelgezis - (Kh. 'Ali Malikina?)
About one kilometer northeast of that site (Haditha: see no. 65) there is another large site, surveyed previously by V. Guerin (Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine, Samarie 2. Paris 1875, p. 76) but not excavated. This site is called Hurvat Tinshemet or Khirbet Sheikh Ali Malikina. Ch. Clermont-Ganneau (Recueil d'archeologie orientale 2, 1898, pp. 166-168) was the first to suggest identifing this site with Betomelgezis mentioned in the Madaba map, due to the similarity of the names. Halfway between these two sites we found and excavated another building. The excavations directed by Roni Ben-Arieh and the author, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, uncovered an isolated basilical church with an adjoining area containing an olive press, water reservoir, and entrance room.
The church was dedicated to Saint Bacchus, as an inscription in the mosaic floor of the atrium states. The church had a colorful mosaic floor with geometric designs. The olive press, of the lever-and screw type, to the north of the atrium was an integral part of the church complex. The finds from the church date to the Byzantine and Umayyad periods. One unique find was a marble medallion, 67 cm in diameter on which is engraved a Tyche with a city-wall crown. Written on the medallion is the name Prokopius, son of Theodorus, and the date of Xantikos, 645 (April 582 CE using the era of Pompey).
Uzi Dahari, "Adithaim now Aditha and Betomelgezis in the Madaba Map", in: The Madaba Map Centenary 1897-1997, Jerusalem 1999, 246-248 (extract)
Michael Avi-Yonah (The Madaba Mosaic Map, Jerusalem 1954, 61)
North of Aditha and further into the mountains we see Betomelgezis. This name occurs in no other source. The proposed identification with Kh. Ali Malikina (Clermont-Ganneau, Rec. archéol. orient., II, pp. 166-8) is possible, but by no means certain. Johns (Palestine of the Crusades. Survey of Palestine, Jaffa. 1944 ed.) proposes to identify Crusader Belmekim with modern el Barniqiya south of Jaljuliye and this is quite possibly the right location if we accept the solution proposed below for the next name: Ora.
Map Section 6 Place Sources