Khirbet Nisya 2000 -- By: David P. Livingston

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:1 (Winter 2001)
Article: Khirbet Nisya 2000
Author: David P. Livingston


Khirbet Nisya 2000

David P. Livingston

[2000 was the Associates for Biblical Research’s 19th dig season at Khirbet Nisya, under the direction of ABR founder Dr. David Livingston. In this article, Dr. Livingston summarizes the result of his 2000 excavation. With his research at Kh. Nisya winding down, this dig included only a small team working on specific projects.]

This subterranean one-room structure was originally discovered in 1995 while the roadway in the picture was being cut out. A hole in the bedrock surface of the road opened into the room. The actual carved entrance into the structure is off the photo, behind the man at the left. At a level a little below where the young man in the hole is standing, the entrance was cut into the vertical face of the rock

Our 2000 excavation at Khirbet Nisya involved rest probes in a number of specific areas on the site. Digging in July and August was very hot, one day reaching 106° F! News reports indicated this was the honest day recorded in Jerusalem over the past 112 years. This year, with just a small team, we excavated two new areas checking possible evidence of socket stones. Unfortunately, we found nothing of significance.

The Underground Structure

Baruch Brandl, of the Israeli Antiquitics Authority (IAA), visited the site and looked at the underground structure we had previously discovered and excavated. He suggested the area outside the entrance should be excavated completely to bedrock. Whether a dwelling or tomb (or both—during different periods), we spent three days clearing in front (south) of the door carved into the vertical face of bedrock. The bedrock outside the doorway had also been carved, with two steps leading down to the actual doorway.

The entrance to this room was carved into the bedrock’s vertical face. Steps cut into the bedrock led down to the entrance, where a blocking stone had “cemented” to the bedrock and could not be moved. Two pairs of holes in the bedrock left (east) of the doorway may have held some type of plaque identifying the dwelling—for the living or the dead.

Carved into bedrock, the interior of this one-room (15 x 23 ft) structure was completely plastered. The author suggests it was probably used as both a dwelling and a tomb during different periods.

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