Archaeological Excavations at Khirbet Beit Bassa, Palestine
Abu Aemar, Ibrahim Mohammad
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K hirbet Beit Bassa is located on a hilltop that rises to 670 m above sea level and overlooks the surrounding terrain in all directions. The total area of the site is about 40,000 m2 (ten acres) and lies about 3 km southeast of Bethlehem’s historic town center. The site is surrounded by a number of other archaeological sites, including Khirbet Hendaza, Khirbet Beit Ta’mar, the Herodion, the traditional Shepherd’s Fields, and the Church of the Nativity (fig. 1). The occupation history of the vicinity of the khirbet is dated to the Early Bronze Age through the Ottoman period. The khirbet is distinguished by its relatively large size and raised elevation. The site was most likely a small village during the Roman period, flourished during the Byzantine era, then declined during the Islamic period. We believe that khirbet Beit Bassa reached its zenith during the Byzantium era is due to its very close location to at least three major archaeological sites and features that played a distinguished role in the early Christian, namely, Siyer al-Ghanam, Kanisat al Rawat, and the Church of the Nativity.