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Israeli prison to join Armageddon's list of ancient ruins

8 August 2018 - 24   - 0

MEGIDDO, Israel (Reuters) - The end is nigh at Armageddon - at least for an old Israeli prison near the ancient ruins of Megiddo, by tradition the site of the apocalyptic Biblical battle between good and evil.

Half an hour’s drive south of Nazareth, Armageddon is a popular site for the coach loads of tourists visiting the sites of the Holy Land. There is also a busy program of excavations.

FILE PHOTO: A statue of the Emperor Hadrian is displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem July 20, 2010. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

In 2005, work to expand the aging Megiddo Prison uncovered the remains of a 3rd century Christian prayer hall, including a mosaic referring to “God Jesus Christ”.

The building with the mosaic was excavated, earlier artifacts found, and the site was covered up under the supervision of archaeologists.

Now, after years of legal and bureaucratic delays, the prison is to be relocated, freeing up the site for further exploration potentially as early as 2021.

The prospect already has archaeologists excitedly talking about an area they have started to call “Greater Megiddo”.

“When the Christian prayer hall was first found beneath the prison, we were all excited for one minute,” said Matthew Adams, director of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, who has spent years excavating at Megiddo.

“And then we realized, “Oh, it’s in a maximum security prison, so we’ll never actually be able to do anything with it.”

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