Beit Lehi - the lost city of ancient Israel

Utah Valley University

Many of the historical milestones that happened anciently in the land of Israel are reflected by the settlement history of Beit Lehi, currently an active archaeological site southwest of Jerusalem. The site was apparently first settled around 800 B.C. as part of the Kingdom of Judah. It was abandoned during the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C., and soon after it was re-occupied by the pagan Idumeans who came from the southeast (King Herod was half-Idumean). Around 112 B.C. the area reverted to Jewish control under the Hasmoneans/Maccabees, remaining so into the Herodian, or Late Second Temple, period. Following the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-70 A.D.), the site seems to have been abandoned. It was resettled some 300 years later, in the Byzantine period, as a Christian village. Although the site remained Christian following the Arab conquest of the land of Israel ca. 636 A.D., by the late 8th century its Christian inhabitants seem to have been replaced by Muslims. During the following centuries, Beit Lehi seems to have existed as a small, modest village, finally abandoned around the 13th or 14th century. Since then, it has lain undisturbed, with centuries of rain and wind doing their best to cover the existing structures. Utah Valley University (UVU) is a public university in Orem, that is engaged in digital preservation education and activities. UVA is engaged in a project to provide virtual reality capture of Beit Lehi. Storing these virtual reality files in AWAe ensures that these relics are never lost, and future generations can experience the sites as we can today.

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