Photo by Garo Nalbandian

Qasr el-Abd was part of a large estate belonging to the Tobiads, a Jerusalem clan descending from either Hyrcanus’s grandfather, Tobias, or an earlier Tobias who lived in the time of Nehemiah (mid-fifth century B.C.E.). The estate contains the remains of a gate, buildings and leveled areas that may have been parks. Cut into the hill north of Qasr el-Abd are several caves, used as living quarters. The entrances to two of the caves are inscribed in Aramaic with the name “Tobias” (see drawing).