Israel: Maccabean Graves Archaeological Excavations
Byzantine Period mosaics adorned with a cross found in the floors of burial vaults associated with the Tombs of the Maccabees, exalted saints in the eyes of early Christianity. The Israel Antiquities Authority has uncovered a large mausoleum, possibly the tomb of the Maccabees, at the Horbat Ha-Gardi site, located near Modiin, believed to have been described in writing two thousand years ago and first revealed in 1871 excavations conducted by French archaeologist Charles Clermont Ganneau. The Maccabees were leaders of a Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea, a province of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty ruling from 164 BCE to 63 BCE.