Ḥorvat Beth Loya - Monastery (?)

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Source of knowledge
Archaeological remains
Excavated site
Excavators: 
NameDate
Patrich and Tsafrir
1983, 1986
Discussion: 
Patrich and Tsafrir identified the complex as a village monastery whose church served the neighboring village. This identification is based on the wall that surrounded the entire complex (Patrich and Tsafrir 1993: 265). This identification is disputed by Gutfeld and Ecker, according to whom, there is not sufficient evidence to support such an identification. Their claim is based on the absence of other components, apart from a church, that would point to a monastery, such as a refectory or dwellings. In addition, they point out that none of the inscriptions mention an abbot or monks, only donners are mentioned. They suggest that the church was a private church serving the villagers and pilgrims (Gutfeld and Ecker 2013: 173). Di Segni, too, is of the opinion that the complex was erected by a group of lay persons, indicated by the inscriptons, and served an extended family or a village community (Di Segni 2016: 189*).
State of certainty: 
Uncertain / Questionable
Architectural evolution
General outline: 
The site consists of a basilical church surrounded by a walled precinct, additional structures, a winepress and a burial cave.
Dating material: 

The church was erected ca. 500 CE, based on the pottery and other finds.

Phase date
Century: 
6th c.
Within century: 
Early
General outline: 
An oil press was added in the space separating the southern wall of the church from the precinct wall.
Phase date
Century: 
6th-7th c.
General outline: 
The complex remained in use well into the Early Islamic period and was abandoned sometime in the eighth century, possibly destroyed by an earthquake.
Dating material: 

Signs of iconoclasm and repairs attest that the church was in use in the first half of the eighth century.

Phase date
Century: 
8th c.
Within century: 
Second half
Iconoclastic evidence
Iconoclastic evidence: 
Yes
Iconoclastic evidence comments: 
The defacement of the figures in the mosaics was done with care and then repaired. This indicates that it was done by the residents themselves, supporting the dating of the complex's use.
Post Arab conquest history: 
Still in use
Post conquest history comments: 
After having been abandoned, the site was dismantled and robbed for stone. The site was converted into a Muslim cemetery, jewelry and other items were found in the tombs.