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  * 4 cent. Syn.
  * 1 cent. Syn.
  * Insula
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  * 2000 - 2003

  * The House
  * Pictures 1
  * Pictures 2
  * Pictures 3
  * Pictures 4


The archaeological remains of Capharnaum cover a period of at least three thousand years, from 2000 B.C. to 1000 A.D. in round numbers. Besides, Palaeolithic flints give a dating of several thousand years before the Christian era. Early third millennium sherds (bend-slip ware) show that the site was occasionally visited by man in the crucial period when urban life developed in the Holy Land (Early Bronze Age). Walls and pavements of second millennium B.C. (Middle and Late Bronze) were found Instead, no trace of occupation has been found so far covering the long Israelite period (1200 - 587 B.C.).

A milling stone

A milling stone in Capharnaum

The fifth century B.C. marks the beginning of a very long an continuous period of occupation, several remains of which have been found under the synagogue, under the octagonal church, in insula n. 2 and particularly on the area immediately to the west. This we believe is the nucleus of the Persian period settlement from which Capharnaum spread in all directions in the following centuries. Of course Capharnaum was not born as a full-fledged town, but developed gradually. In due time old houses were completely replaced by new ones, or in other cases old walls were reinforced while new stone pavements were added. Up to now we have no clear indication that during the Roman and Byzantine periods the village underwent a wholesale and drastic destruction due to wars of physical calamities. Even the traumatic transition to the Arab period in the seventh century A.D. was not marked by a sudden and global distruction: apparently several houses of the village were simply abandoned, while other units continued in use well into the Arab period. Under the Ommayad rulers of Damascus the site was fully reoccupied; but during this period the synagogue and the octagonal church were abandoned for good. During the Abassid dynasty of Bagdad Capharnaum prosperity declined sharply. Some structures were built in Capharnaum in the 12-13th cent. A.D., but the village as such was by that time a pile of ruins.

Other milling stones

© copyright 2001. Text written by Fr. Stanislao Loffreda ofm. Reproduction, retrieval or redistribution of this material is not permitted without prior permission of the author reachable at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (sbfnet@netvision.net)

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Created / Updated Monday, December 17, 2001 at 18:39:13 by John Abela ofm
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