Photos courtesy of the Yattir excavation

A mystery solved. Two seasons of excavation revealed little that explained the function of a basilical building on Yattir’s northwest slope. It seemed to be a church but had no apse, bore no Christian symbols and faced, unlike most churches of that era, southeastward instead of east. In 1999 Yattir’s excavators uncovered a four-line inscription, which includes the names of a bishop and a presbyter, thus confirming that the building was a church. The inscription, however, contains no date for the church’s construction.