by Teresa Neumann : Feb 7, 2011 : Staff – Past Horizons
"Analysis of Christian sources, including the Madaba Map from Jordan, leads researchers to conclude that Horbat Midras may be a memorial church marking the tomb of Zechariah."
(Israel)—Archaeologists in Israel are showcasing a newly discovered church in Judea—at a site called Hirbet Madras—before they cover it again in soil to protect it.
The small, 1,500-year-old Byzantine basilica features an "exquisite" mosaic floor was decorated with images of lions, foxes, fish and peacocks.
Amir Ganor, with the Israel Antiquities Authority, was quoted as saying the floor was "one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years."
Originally, archaeologists thought they had uncovered a synagogue, but soon found stones carved with crosses. An AP report noted that "stone steps lead down from the floor of the church to a small burial cave, which scholars suggest might have been venerated as the burial place of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah."
Notes a report in Past Horizons: The "basilica comprises a large flagstone courtyard from which worshippers passed into a corridor. Entering into the nave there were eight breathtaking marble columns that bore magnificent capitals which were imported from Turkey. Analysis of Christian sources, including the Madaba Map from Jordan, leads researchers to conclude that Horbat Midras may be a memorial church marking the tomb of Zechariah."