The Mountain of Judah
and the Shephelah

65. Adiathim now Aditha - (al-Hadithah)

In the description of the cities of Judah in Joshua (15:36) Haditha, or Hadid, is cited as `Adithaim, and so it appears in the Onomastikon of Eusebius (24:24). On the Madaba Map Adithaim now Aditha appears and below that name is a fortress. North of Haditha the settlement of Betomelgezis, not mentioned in any other source appears on the map. In 1 Maccabbees (12: 38), and in Josephus (Antiquities XIII, 203), we are told that Simon the Hasmonean built a fortress in Hadid. The archaeological site of Hadid is situated on a hill overlooking the coastal plain of Israel east of Lod (Diospolis). The settlement's name has been preserved in the name of the Arab village which once stood on the site. Surveys and excavations yielded evidence of settlement from the Iron Age until the present.
The use, in historic sources, of the double form of the name Adithaim, that is, two Haditas, suggests an additional nearby site of the same name - a common phenomenon then and now. The fact that no Hasmonean fortress has been discovered at the site we know today as Tel Hadid suggests that it may have been located at the second Hadid.
Where then, is the second Hadid depicted on the Madaba Map? And where is Betomelgezis shown to the north? In 1995, while building a new road from Ben Shemen north to Rosh Ha`Ayin, a large archaeological site of more than 20 dunams, was discovered. The site was completely covered with earth and had not been found during any previous survey. Excavations conducted from 1995 to 1996, directed by Uzi `Ad and the author, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered seven archaeological strata:
Stratum VIII (Late Iron and Persian Period): A period of sparce settlement with a few small wall remains in the southwest. Stratum VII (Hellenistic Period): Remains of three fortified buildings on the north side, probably from the second century B.C.E., and a farmstead, agricultural installations, water reservoirs and cultivated plots. Stratum VI (Late Hellenistic Period): The most interesting and signficant stratum with remains of a fortress (48 x 60 m) from the Hasmonean period, similar to the Hasmonean fortress at Beth Zur. Stratum V (Early Roman Period): A continuation of Stratum VI in the Herodian period, first century C.E., including renewal of the Hasmonean walls, and the construction of two baths, four miqva'ot, and other buildings, a tower, an olive press inside a cave, tabuns, and grain storage bins, prior to the destruction of the site in the Bar Kokhba revolt. Stratum IV (Byzantine Period): A large agricultural settlement and monastery from the end of the fifth century C.E., built above the remains of the Hasmonean fortress, including a basilica with a mosaic floor. Found in the church were the cover of a marble reliquary, a marble basin, marble column fragments, a bronze incense burner. A crypt with more than 100 burials was found below the atrium with objects dating to the early seventh century. Associated with the monastery was a wine press and three olive presses. Two hoards of coins from the time of Heraclius were found hidden below floors. Stratum III (Early Muslim Period): A continuation of the flourishing settlement in the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, including the new construction of buildings and streets, and the continued use of the church. In the Abbasid period the church was destroyed by fire, and the site was abandoned during the 10th century. Stratum II (Medieval): A sparce occupation during the 11th century and ending in the 12th century. Stratum I (?).
No inscriptions indicating the original name of the town were found, but because this was a large, fortified site, historical sources should be studied. We suggest four possibilities for identifying the town:
A. Neballat (Beit Nabala): An Arab village, Beit Nabala, identifies this site, located one km to the south. Neballat (or Anablata) is mentioned in historic sources a number of times as being near Hadid.
B. Zeboim: Mentioned once in Nehemiah (11:34), as being situated between Hadid and Anablata. This possibility seems least likely, based on the spare Persian period remains and the Hasmonean fortress which we believe should appear in sources dealing with the Hasmonean era.
C. Betomelgezis: The name appears only on the Madaba Map shown north of Hadid. We suggest identifying Betomegezis with the nearby site Hirbet Tinshemet (Sheikh `Ali Malikina).
D. Second Hadid: In I Maccabbees 12:38 we read, "and Shimeon built Hadid on the plain and fortified it and built gates and bolts". Also in Josephus, we find similar reminders. It appears that the excavated Hasmonean fortress is indeed that built by Simon the Hasmonean as related in the historic sources. Simon probably did not wish the Tel Hadid settlement destroyed, and built a fortress there.

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 Modiin we find the village Adiathim now Aditha. The village is identical with al-Hadita, 5 km east of Ludd (Lidda, Diospolis).
Apart from a small change in the form of the Biblical name this identification is taken from the On. 24, 24. The Book of Maccabees (I, 12:38; 13:13) has Adida, Josephus (Antiquities XIII, 203) Addida which is nearer the Biblical Hadid. The close association of the tsvo localities with the story of the Maccabees explains their inclusion in the map. The name Hadid has in our days replaced the Arabic el Haditheh.

Israel Roll ("The Roads in Roman-Byzantine Palaestina and Arabia", in The Madaba Map Centenary, 112)
Several sites depicted on the mosaic map of Madaba indicate that its makers used data drawn from road-maps and itineraria. Between Jerusalem and Jaffa, a series of places known to be located along the two connecting highways between them, are shown on that map. These are: Bethoron, Kaperouta, Modeim, Adita and Lydda/Diospolis, which bordered, in that sequence, the northern highway - known as the Bethoron road. Also are mentioned Nicopolis, Enataba and Betoannaba, that belonged to the parallel southern road, via Emmaus. The very mentioning of two mile-stations, the fourth (to tetarton), and the ninth (to ennaton), clearly indicate a road-map origin. Those two sites could be identified with two traditional road-stations of the southern highway which possessed plenty of water, that is, Colonia (today Motza) located at the distance of four miles from Jerusalem, and Kiriat Jearim (today Abu Ghosh) - at nine miles from it.
(See also the complete article)

Bellarmino Bagatti (Ancient Christian Villages of Samaria, Jerusalem - in the press)

El-Hadithe, Aditha

In the past, explorers limited themselves to saying that the Arab village was a continuation of an ancient settlement, Aditha of Eusebius (On., 24), attested by tombs and cisterns. A mosaic floor was discovered in August 1940 and was excavated at the end of the same year by J. Ory on behalf of the Department of Antiquities. The mosaic belonged to a half-destroyed religious building located at the foot of a hill about 200 m southwest of the village. Thirty-two years later the mosaic was published by M. Avi Yonah (IEJ 22 [1972], 118-122), using the excavator's notes. The information given here is based on this report and the accompanying illustrations. The mosaic was removed and today is preserved in Haifa.
The religious complex was not completely excavated because of the complete destruction of parts of it; however, we know it consisted of various rooms. The only one which still had part of its mosaic pavement was the "Oratory," as it is called in a Greek inscription preserved in a medallion. The room is rectangular, 5.25 x 4.25 m. It has no apse, as is the case with other oratories, e.g. at Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives; however, it is oriented east according to custom. In fact, two fragmentary inscriptions are preserved in the northeastern corner of the central field: they are enclosed in medallions formed by a vine-trellis and face east. Both begin with a cross. One, of which only the beginning remains, reads: "The whole work of this oratory (euktherion) was done..". The other inscription begins: "Lord God of hosts save those who have contributed and who contribute to this place... priest..." The names of those who wanted the work done, or who contributed money to have it done, are lost, while the usual dedicatory formulas of the Byzantine period have been preserved.

Egypt in a mosaic floor found at Haditha

Of the border which surrounded the central field, only the northeastern corner remains. It contains a figurative decoration of a Nilotic subject. A city is represented in the corner, identified by a caption as "Egypt," surrounded by a wall that encloses two basilica-type churches and a domed one. A similar pattern, with the same caption, is found, for example, at Gerasa and Umm el-Manabiyeh (Bagatti, LA 2 [1952], 287). The band immediately reveals its Egyptian character, which is made still clearer by the papyrus leaves which rise from the marsh. To the north is a naked boy with a stick and a buffalo fighting an animal whose picture is lost, and two fishes. To the east are two ducks, then a sailboat floating on the surface of the water, with two youths sitting in it. One is roving, the other is picking a papyrus leaf, together with another boy who stands outside the boat.
We cannot call this mosaic a masterwork; however, it makes a fine impression as a rustic copy of an Alexandrian original. It somewhat recalls the much better known style of the mosaicist of Tabgha. From the chronological point of view it can be classified among the works of the sixth century, especially in the use of the human figure.
Aditha represented in the Madaba mosaic with a conventional vignette and the caption: "Adiatim, today Aditha." It appears together with other places mentioned in the Book of Maccabees.

For more sources and bibliography see:
Tabula Imperii Romani. Iudaea - Palaestina (Jerusalem 1994) s.v. "Hadid. Adida. Haditha", 138.

Map Section 6 Place Sources

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Created Tuesday, December 19, 2000 at 23:39:52
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000