Israel on Tuesday unveiled pilgrims’ lamps and other finds at the so-called “Salome’s Tomb,” a burial site named after a woman said to have helped give birth to Jesus, according to the website.Science Alert“.
Archaeologists said excavations in a cave reputed to be the burial place of Salome, who in an “unrecognized” text says she nursed Jesus when he was newborn, have yielded more evidence that the cave was an important Jewish cemetery as well as a site. It is frequented by Christian visitors, according to Reuters.
The “Book of James”, which is among the early Christian writings called the Apocrypha, i.e. writings of doubtful authenticity that were not included in the Bible, talks about Salome’s skepticism about the story of the virgin Mary’s birth of Jesus Christ without being touched by humans.
The writings indicate that she tried to overcome these doubts by examining the body of the Lady Mary, to paralyze her hand before it was healed after the Virgin pardoned her.
Then she carried the Lord Christ in her arms and declared him a “great king…” and accompanied the Holy Family on their journey to Egypt.
In the 1980s, the tomb was discovered by grave robbers in what is now the Lachish National Park, which is located west of Jerusalem, according to Science Alert.
The place, which is located about 35 km southwest of Bethlehem, has been known since ancient times as “Salome’s Cave,” according to Reuters.
The place became known as “Salome’s Cave” based on popular beliefs in which the burial place of Salome was identified, according to Christian beliefs from Bethlehem and she was called to participate in the birth of the Christ child, according to “Agence France Presse”.
The cave consists of several rooms that include many burial niches dug in rocks, and broken bones in stone boxes.
The Israel Antiquities Authority described the site as “one of the most complex” and “impressive” caves in the country.
“In the cave we found many inscriptions in ancient Greek and Syriac,” said Zvi Ferrer, director of excavations at the site.
He added, “One of the most beautiful inscriptions is the name of Salome… Because of this inscription, we understand that this place is the sacred cave of Salome,” according to “Agence France Presse.”
The Israel Antiquities Authority said work preparing the 2,000-year-old cave to open it to the public revealed a 350-square-meter forecourt whose stone slabs and mosaic floors were consistent with what was said to be the tomb of an important Jewish family there.
According to the Antiquities Authority, inscriptions were also found, some of them in Arabic, and decorative oil lamps that correspond to the use of the place as a visiting site for Christians, including until the ninth century after the Islamic conquest of the region.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said that previous excavations found Jewish antiquities, “but the surprise was the conversion of the cave into a church … due to the presence of crosses and dozens of inscriptions on the walls of the cave in the Byzantine and early Islamic eras, and the church was dedicated to Holy Salome.”