Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have found an ancient mosque in the Negev desert close to the Israeli city of Rahat, where the Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority is constructing a new suburb.
The mosque was constructed circa 1200 years ago, when control of the region passed from Christian to Muslim rule. It consists of a square room, with a wall that faces Mecca and a niche that is half-circular and points south.
This find follows another one made three years ago, when the IAA archaeologists unearthed an even earlier mosque that is “among the earliest known worldwide”.
Around 400m from the mosque the archaeologists also found what was clearly a high-status Muslim estate dating from the eighth to ninth century AD. It had chambers decorated with red and yellow wall murals and floors paved with marble or stone. The high-status of the owners is reflected in the quality of the dinnerware and glass artifacts found onsite, which had animal and plant depictions.