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Aristobulia, Khirbet

By Yuval PelegShahar Batz

THE SITE

Khirbet Aristobulia extends across the southern and western slope of a hill, 850 m above sea level, about 5 km southeast of Tel Ziph, in the southeastern area of the Hebron Hills. Among the ruins are the remains of buildings, hewn caves, agricultural installations, and water cisterns. The entire site has suffered from pillage and major destruction from later building and agricultural activity. At the northern edge of the ruin, past the dwellings on the crest of the hill, a Byzantine church with a mosaic floor was uncovered.

EXPLORATION AND EXCAVATIONS

The site was mentioned in the nineteenth century by V. Guérin and in the PEF survey. In 1918, A. E. Mader published the site as “The Monastery of Euthymius at Aristobulias,” as part of his comprehensive study of the churches of southern Judea, identifying the site with the monastery that Euthymius built near the village of Aristobulias. Mader described a basilica church at the summit of the site, with a series of rooms to the south of the church. In his view, this was a communal monastery or coenobium, whose monks lived mainly in the surrounding caves rather than within the confines of the monastery itself.

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