ISRAEL: Pilgrims’ lamps and other discoveries have been revealed by archaeologists from the ‘tomb of Salome,’ which bears the name of a woman allegedly involved in the birth of Christ.
In what is now Tel Lachish National Park, west of Jerusalem, the tomb was found by grave robbers in the 1980s.
Archaeologists have discovered a Jewish burial chamber from the Roman era during later excavations, which was converted into a Christian chapel in the Byzantine era and continued to be a place of worship into the early Islamic period.
The excavation team deduced the grotto was devoted to Salome because of an inscription they discovered on its walls. Salome is connected to Jesus’ birth in the Eastern Orthodox faith.
According to Zvi Firer, the head of the excavation, “In the cave, we found tonnes of inscriptions in ancient Greek and Syriac.”
The name appears on one of the stunning inscriptions. This cave is the sacred Salome’s cave, as shown by the inscription.
The Gospel of James, omitted from the New Testament translations used by most western churches, recounts Salome’s function as the midwife’s assistant at Christ’s birth.
The excavation team stated that “the cult of Salome…belongs to a broader phenomenon, whereby the fifth-century Christian pilgrims encountered and sanctified Jewish sites.”
A collonaded courtyard with a 350 square meter (3,750 square foot) footprint was still there when the researchers discovered it outside the grotto, indicating Salome was respected at the time.
Around the courtyard, shops from as late as the ninth century, approximately 200 years after the Muslim conquest, could still sell clay lamps and other pilgrim-related items.
The team stated, “It is interesting that some of the inscriptions were inscribed in Arabic, whilst the Christian believers continued to pray at the site.”