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Trench I

LOCATION: the central part of the complex
DIMENSIONS: ca. 4.5 x 6.5 m
INTERPRETATION: the western part of the chapel, which held baptismal installation in the earliest phase of occupation

DESCRIPTION: the excavations exposed well-preserved northern wall of the chapel, remains of the western wall and a flagstone pavement which appears to have been a stone buildup for a secondary (later) floor in the chapel. Two pilasters supported a N-S arch which spanned the space of the chapel in this area. Four stone benches were built against the walls. The sounding against the western bench exposed well-preserved remains of a baptismal font of a cruciform type. The font was fully integrated with the bedrock in this area. The baptismal installation belongs to the earliest phase of occupation in the chapel. The baptismal font was abandoned and backfilled, probably after the first destruction of the church and the chapel.

FINDS: Nabataean ceramics (1st century B.C. - 2nd century, A.D.), ceramics dated to the 4th-6th, possibly 7th centuries A.D., numerous fragments of plaster fragments featuring painted Greek letters - most probably related to the decoration of the baptismal installation.

Text: Zbigniew T. Fiema