A cross-regional initiative for the study of
monasticism in the late antique Near East
The highlighted areas in the photo below help to situate the caves along the cliffs of the western wall of the canyon. Cave 6 is the southernmost and is nearest to the top of the canyon. Caves 1-5 are situated roughly Cave 1 is within 50-70 m of the cluster of Caves 2-5.
The Ein Avdat hermitage consists of 6 known caves and is located 3 km north of Avdat, approximate coordinates 30°49'28.26" N, 34º45"45.57" E (click here for 1: 50,000 map and NIG coordinates). These caves were carved out of the western wall of the canyon in the Byzantine Period and contribute to forming a regional picture of monastic activity. Ze'ev Meshel and Yoram Tsafrir first surveyed Caves 1-4 in the 1970s. Cave 5 was also mentioned in the authors' survey, but not formally documented; Cave 6 was not part of their survey. The numbering system for the caves follows the one used by Meshel and Tsafrir. In June 2016, we visited Caves 2, 4, 5, 6 to record the various architectural features. Cave 2 was of particular interest because of the graffiti reported in the initial survey, including an acclamation to Saint Theodore. During our inspection, we also discovered new graffiti in Cave 5. As indicated in the satellite map below, a Byzantine structure is located not far from the hermitage, at the top of the canyon - click here for more information about this building and our brief inspection of it. The additional images below help to situate the hermitage within the landscape and also feature a Cave Map with clickable buttons that lead to pages about individual caves and our 2016 documentation work.
Ein Avdat Hermitage
Green highlight Cave 1
Purple highlight Caves 2-5
Red highlight Cave 6
Photo: Igor Svobodin
Distant view of Cave 1 (below). Note the two doorways and two windows.
Distant view of Caves 2-5 (below). Moving clockwise from bottom left of photo: Cave 5, with one of its two entrances partially obscured by a bush; Cave 2; Cave 3; and Cave 4.
Photo: Igor Svobodin
Cave Map: click on the buttons in image below for further details about individual caves and the results of our 2016 inspection.
Special thanks to Oded Sahar from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) at Ein Avdat. Caves 2, 4, 5 are not easily accessible and Oded skillfully guided us along the cliffs to reach them. Thanks also to Eran Himes and Nili Dvash, both of the INPA, for making the arrangements to inspect the caves. Click on the button below for information from the INPA about Ein Avdat.