Khirbet Abu Rish; Khirbet Beit 'Anun - Monastery (?)

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Source of knowledge
Epigraphy
Archaeological remains
Surveyed site
Surveyors: 
NameDate
Conder and Kitchener
1871-1877
Kochavi
1967-1968
Excavated site
Excavators: 
NameDate
Magen and Baruch
1990; 1992
History: 
The site was probably a farm in its first phase. It is not known if this farm was worked by monks. It became a pilgrimage site sometime later with extensive changes in the plan of the structure, several rooms and a chapel were added. If this was indeed a monastery it may have been founded at this point with the monks providing services for the pilgrims that were drawn to the sacred tombs. The site was probably abandoned sometime in the early seventh century, perhaps due to the Arab conquest.
Discussion: 
The site was defined as a monastery in the Corpus of Christian sites, published by the Archaeology Staff Officer of Judea and Samaria (Magen and Kagan 2012 II: 187, no. 281). However, this identification was not mentioned in a broader publication of the excavation (Magen and Baruch 2012: 185-202). Although the complex structure is suggestive of a monastery, the inscription that mentions a priest and not an abbot casts some doubt over the suggestion that this was a monastery. On the other hand, it is quite clear that the complex became a site of pilgrimage in its second phase, as the inscription mentions them. It is not inconcievable that the site was run by monks in the same manner as other establishments, for example the road station and pilgrimage site established by the Empress Eudocia at Qasr Ali on the Jerusalem-Jericho road (Hirschfeld 1990: 287-294) and the one excavated at Horvat Hanot (Di Segni 2003: 273-276; Shenhav 2003: 269-272).
State of certainty: 
Uncertain / Questionable
Architectural evolution
General outline: 
An industrial, agricultural complex consisting of two rooms (15 x 4.80 m) or more, an open courtyard, cisterns, caves, tombs. Some of the caves were fitted for storage.
Dating material: 

All phases were Byzantine, based on the pottery. The phase is dated to the late fifth or early sixth century.

Phase date
Century: 
5th-6th c.
General outline: 
Major changes in the structure. Rooms added, the large room of the early phase becomes a chapel and is paved with mosaics. An inscription mentions a priest and pilgrims.
Dating material: 

The precise dating of each phase has not been discerned. Most likely the second phase dates to the sixth century when pilgrimage became widespread.

Phase date
Century: 
6th-7th c.
General outline: 
Minor changes are made in the structure. A new, massive wall bounds the courtyard and the burial area, the workmanship is slovenly and uneven.
General outline: 
The site was abandoned after the Arab conquest when pilgrimage ceased.
Dating material: 

No finds later than Byzantine were found.

Phase date
Century: 
7th c.
Post Arab conquest history: 
Abandoned