Tel Ira - ST. PETER

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Source of knowledge
Archaeological remains
Surveyed site
Excavated site
According to the excavators, the site was an early Byzantine period fort which gave security to the monks who came to settle. The imprecise construction, especially of the chapel, suggests that the builders were not professional ones and it is not unreasonable to assume that it was the monks themselves, who were most likely local, had built and decorated their own monastery. This impression is strengthened by the workmanship of the mosaic pavement, including the inscription. Ovadiah wrote: “The writing lacks proficiency or uniformity…Nevertheless the scribe was familiar with …abbreviations…” (Ovadiah 1999: 435). Of the mosaic itself he wrote: “The decorative motifs plainly testify to the simplest kind of workmanship, utterly unsophisticated and lacking in any sort of craft skill or artistic flair” (Ibid.: 433).
State of certainty: 
Archaeologicaly definitive
Architectural evolution
General outline: 
The complex was constructed over the ruins of an Iron Age fortress. Foundation was dated by the excavators to the sixth century CE. In the initial phase the complex was constructed as a unit.
Dating material: 


Phase date
6th c.
General outline: 
In the second phase, some structural changes were made, especially in the chapel area, apparently to accommodate the daily requirements of the monks (as described by the excavators). No dating was provided.
Phase date
6th-7th c.
General outline: 
The monastery was apparently abandoned in an orderly fashion without violence as no signs of destruction or conflagration were discerned. The paucity of finds supports this assertion.
Phase date
7th c.
Within century: 
First half
Post Arab conquest history: 
Post conquest history comments: 
In the Early Islamic period, after the monastery had been abandoned it was resettled for a short period of time in a domestic capacity after which it was abandoned and never settled again.