Israel: Archeologists discover second of the world’s earliest rural mosques

i24NEWS

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The remains of the ancient rural mosque near the Bedouin city of Rahat. The announcement of discovering a rare ancient 1,200 years-old rural mosque was made on July 18, 2019.
Anat Rasiuk/Israel Antiquities AuthorityThe remains of the ancient rural mosque near the Bedouin city of Rahat. The announcement of discovering a rare ancient 1,200 years-old rural mosque was made on July 18, 2019.

Both mosques are located in the same Bedouin town of Rahat

Israeli archeologists discovered another one of the world’s earliest rural mosques in southern Israel, Haaretz reported.

It is the second one found by archeologists within three years, both located in the same Bedouin town of Rahat in the northern Negev, the Israeli daily reported.

The mosques are around 1,200 years old, but it was challenging for the archaeologists to date them, Dr. Elena Kogan-Zehavi, archeologist, told the Israeli daily.

Since many worshippers at the time prayed empty-handed there were not many finds in the area, she explained.

However, in 2019, the archaeologists found remains surrounding the first mosque, but that was not the case unearthing the second one.

“In other words, we cannot say whether the two mosques operated at the same time – but there is no reason to think they didn’t,” Kogan-Zehavi told Haaretz. 

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The newly found mosque was constructed only a few hundred meters from the ruins of an immense estate presumably belonging to Byzantine Christians, unveiling the wealth of the ancient empire.

It is still unknown whether the inhabitants of Rahat were Islamic nomads or local converts from Christianity, the daily reported.

It is not the first time that archaeologists found early mosques in Israel, but these mosques differ as they were built in the hinterland, Kogan-Zehavi said. 

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