Shoham bypass road - Monastery (?)

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Source of knowledge
Archaeological remains
Excavated site
Dahari and Ad
The Byzantine period settlers were clearly Christian as indicated by the church at the site and other finds. Former fortresses that had been converted into monasteries are well known. As such we find Deir Qal'a, Deir Sam'an and others in the Samarian hills, Nuseib 'Uweishira, Hyrcania and Masada in the Judean Desert. Based on these parallels, it is possible that the site at Shoham became a monastery in a similar manner. The enclosing wall around the complex lends support to a monastic identification. If this site was indeed a monastery, the olive and wine presses point to its economy. However, the excavators were reluctant to identify the site unequivocally as a monastery and preferred to name it a "settelment" (Dahari and Ad 1998). The removal of the church altar in the Early Islamic period and its replacement with a baptismal font may point to a change in the population. Although baptismal fonts have been found in monasteries (Ben Pechat 1990), such a feature would be necessary for a Christian village where children were born and needed to be baptized. It might be suggested that the site was founded as a monastery and functioned up to the 7th century when it perhaps became a refuge for Christians who had abandoned their settlements due to the events of the first half of that century, thereby becoming a Christian village, its fortifications lending a sense of security to the residents.
State of certainty: 
Uncertain / Questionable
Architectural evolution
General outline: 
The site, originally a Hasmonean fortress, became a Christian settlement towards the end of the fifth century CE, possibly a monastery, consisting of an enclosing wall, courtyards, a basilical church and agricultural installations.
Dating material: 

Based on architecture and the finds.

Phase date
5th c.
Within century: 
General outline: 
Spaces, yards and streets were blocked off, new structures were constructed on the outskirts. The altar in the church was removed and a baptismal font installed in its place.
Dating material: 

Based on architecture and finds.


Phase date
7th-8th c.
General outline: 
The church ceased to function in the Abbasid period, the settlement continued to exist until the tenth century.
Phase date
10th c.
Within century: 
Iconoclastic evidence
Iconoclastic evidence: 
Post Arab conquest history: 
Post conquest history comments: 
The settlement continued to exist throughout the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, some modifications were made. The site was abandoned in the 10th century after the church was destroyed by fire.