2,000-Year-Old Burial Cave Is Thought to Have Been for Jesus’ Midwife
Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have finally begun excavations in the region surrounding a 2,000-year-old burial cave as part of an ongoing archaeological dig. Even thoughthe fact that the cave was found 40 years ago, this is the first time the surrounding environment has been studied. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also claimed to be the final resting place of Salome, the biblical midwife who gave birth to Jesus.
Who was Salome?
Salome, according to Christian traditions, resided in Bethlehem and was requested to assist in the birth of Jesus. When she arrived, she couldn’t believe the baby was being born to a virgin, but she proceeded to work nonetheless. She cradled him in her arms after he was born, which had some unnamed ailment, and she was magically cured. Salome was the one who declared that a “great ruler [was] born unto Israel.”
Although the site was a Jewish burial complex in the first century AD, it eventually became a prominent Christian site owing to its relationship with biblical midwives. A Byzantine chapel was erected nearby and became a pilgrimage site, which archaeologists were able to corroborate after inspecting the area’s contents.
Uncovering the forecourt
The Solome Cave was discovered by looters 40 years ago, but it was soon researched by Amos Kloner, a doctor of antiquities. This investigation was halted before they could discover the cave’s forecourt, and the project is currently being taken up by different scholars. The room is approximately 350 square meters in size and is enclosed by stone walls with several mosaic floors.
They also revealed alsoalso able to reveal the cave entrance and the chapel within, both of which were intricately crafted. Researchers determined that the family that owned it was incredibly affluent since they could invest so much money in the details. Stone sculptures of pomegranates, rosettes, and vases, for example, may be found on the cave’s entrance walls.
What they found inside
The most remarkable aspect of the forecourt, though, is what was constructed there years after the original burial site. The excavations revealed rows of shop kiosks where pilgrims visiting the site might rent or buy clay lamps. Two IAA excavation directors have stated:
We discovered hundreds of full and damaged lamps dating from the seventh to ninth century AD in the shop. The lamps might have been used to light up the cave or as part of religious rites, similar to how candles are distributed nowadays at the tombs of saints and in churches.