Palaeopathology at the Khan‐el‐Ahmar site: Health and disease in a Byzantine monastery in the Judean Desert, Israel

I. Hershkovitz*, R. Yakar, C. Taitz, V. Eshed, S. Wish‐Baratz, A. Pinhasov, B. Ring

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study describes the skeletal material that was uncovered at the crypt of the monastery of St Euthymius at Khan‐el‐Ahmar, in the Judean Desert, near Jerusalem. Comparative morphometric analysis with contemporaneous populations and the palaeodemographic and palaeopathological data disprove many historians' well accepted notions regarding early Christians in the Judean Desert. In the present paper we suggest that the majority of people who were buried at the Khan‐el‐Ahmar monastery derived mainly from the autochthonous population of the region and were not migrants or fugitives from surrounding countries. It appears that this community of monks lived in a rather protected environment despite their desert surroundings. In the monastery, they maintained a high level of personal hygiene, had adequate food supplies and were not subjected to repeated acts of violence from their neighbours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1995

Keywords

  • Byzantine monastery
  • Judean Desert
  • palaeopathology

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