Click on image for enlarged version of the model.
When the Dominican Fathers
first purchased the land which today houses the École iblique et
Archéologique Française and Couvent St. Étienne, they
began extensive archaeological excavations which uncovered numerous Byzantine
tombs, and the foundations and mosaics related to Eudocia's basillica.
Archaeological plans from these excavations also indicate the tombs of
St. Stephen, as well as Eudocia and her granddaughter of the same name
located under the central door entering the basillica.
Elsewhere on the grounds, two Iron Age II tombs were discovered. Exhumation of the contents of repository 6 in tomb complex 1 at St. Stephen's was conducted during the summers from July 1995-1997 under the direction of Dr. Susan Guise Sheridan. In addition to the 15,000+ skeletal elements recovered from the repository, over 250 pieces of material culture were found commingled with the human remains.
The collection of material
culture includes fragments of pottery,
glass, and miscellanous
objects. They represent a broad temporal spectrum dating primarily from
the Roman (135-325 CE) through Umayyad (661-750) periods, with a few pieces
dating to perhaps as early as the Iron Age (8th-7thBCE) and as late as
the Turkish Ottoman (1517-1917) periods. The majority of finds date to
the Byzantine period, corresponding to the time of occupation of Eudocia's
monastery. These remains were studied in detail, and are due to be
published in the March 2000 issue of Revue Biblique.
The paucity of diagnostic pieces in the pottery and glass collections, and the broken nature of the oil lamps, as well as most of the skeletal remains, points to the probable looting of the site in the past. Numerous "fresh" breaks were noted on many pieces of pottery, and though the repository was emptied, corresponding matches were not found for these pieces.
For a complete analysis of
these archaeological remains, please consult K. Coblentz-Bautch,
R. Bautch, G. Barkay, and S. G. Sheridan, "'The Vessels of the Potter Shall
be Broken': The Material Culture from a Burial Cave at St. Étienne's
Monastery, Jerusalem", forthcoming in Revue Biblique, March 2000,(abstract).
In summary, the dating of the majority of artifacts corresponds with the chemical analyses (fluoride and radiocarbon dating), which indicate that the adult remains are from a segment of the Byzantine period (5th-7th C). The correspondance is further corroborated by textual evidence for significant occupation of the site during this time period. Thus, the material culture found commingled with the human remains, informs the temporal context of the larger biocultural model.
Jennifer Richtsmeier, Patrick Cronauer,OSB, Richard Bautch, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Anthony Schafer, Sara Neiburh, Rebeccah Sanders, and Susan Guise Sheridan excavated the artifacts.
Special thanks to Professors Gabriel Barkay (Bar Ilan University), Jodi Magness (Tufts University), David Ilan (Hebrew Union College-Jerusalem), Dan Barag (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Ms. Maud Spaer (Jerusalem) for their generous help in the analysis of the artifacts.
above are: Kelley Coblentz Bautch excavating the floor of the repository
in burial chamber 6; a selection of pieces of the material culture commingled
with the human remains; and the Summer 1996 field team of Anthony Schafer,
Sara Neiburh, and Rebeccah Sanders washing bones and artifacts outside
the lab in the Ancien Couvent at the École Biblique.
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