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Biblical town of Emmaus

The Kiriath-Jearim Shmunis Family Excavations

Archaeologists have made what is an important discovery for Christians in Israel. The remains of a 2,200-year-old fortification at Kiriath-Jearim, a hill on the outskirts of Abu Ghosh (a village near Jerusalem), have been uncovered by researchers. According to archaeologists in Israel who made the discovery, they believe it is the location of the biblical town of Emmaus, where Jesus first appeared to two followers after being crucified and resurrected.

Professor Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University led the archaeologist project alongside Thomas Romer and Christopher Nicolle of the College de France.

In the biblical account, the two disciples walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus when the resurrected Jesus joins them on the walk. However, the men do not recognize the man who joined them as Christ.

Later, upon reaching Emmaus, Christ accepted an offer to eat and stay with the men as night fell. After the bread was broken and the food was blessed, the disciples’ eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. After they recognized Him, according to Luke 24, Jesus vanished from their sight.

Reported by Haaretz, in 2017 scholars on a Franco-Israeli expedition in Kiriath Yearim found the massive, ancient wall of a Hellenistic-era fortress that might have been built by a Seleucid general who defeated the famed Jewish leader featured prominently in the Hanukkah story.

Describing the site, Finkelstein said: ‘The importance of this site, its dominant position over Jerusalem, was felt again and again through time: in the eighth century B.C.E., and then again in the Hellenistic period and then again after the First Jewish Revolt and the sack of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.”

It also is possibly the place mentioned various times throughout the Old Testament of being the location of the Ark of the Covenant for decades, before the ark was taken to Jerusalem by King David.