Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el V: Conclusions

This is the fifth of a series of posts going back to a paper presented at the International Medieval Congress 2017. See for the first post and an overview over the whole series.

Future Plans and Prospects

In two field trips conducted by the JewsEast project (December 2015, October 2017), the second of which was a proper archaeological survey, an attempt was made to locate Betä Ǝsra’el monastic sites. In both cases, the information collected prior to fieldwork indicated the general location of the monasteries, and informants encountered during fieldwork pinpointed the exact location of the sites. In both cases, remains of structures erected by the Betä Ǝsra’el, including synagogues, dwellings and probable monastic compounds, could still be seen and identified.

The monastic sites examined by the JewsEast research team so far should be attributed an Early Modern, rather than a medieval date. However, as has been demonstrated here, the location of Betä Ǝsra’el monastic sites which probably date back to medieval times is known, and these sites can be reached. We hope to be able to reach and survey these sites in the near future. Such an archaeological survey would constitute an important first step in the attempt to understand the characteristics and history of medieval Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism. Thus, it will be possible to shed light on the “forgotten” but crucial years of this fascinating monastic movement.




The research on Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism, in the context of which this article was written, is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 647467 – JEWSEAST); as well as by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the Ben-Zvi Institute; the Ruth Amiran Fund for Archaeological Research in Eretz-Israel; the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University; and the Center for the Study of Christianity at the Hebrew University. Archaeological fieldwork in Ethiopia was conducted with the support of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ARCCH) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

I wish to thank the many people who supported and contributed to the research on Betä Ǝsra’el monasticism, among which are Prof. Steven Kaplan, Prof. Joseph Patrich, Prof. Alexandra Cuffel, Dr. Verena Krebs, Sophia Dege-Müller, Dr. Zara Pogossian, Prof. Rodolfo Fattovich, Dr. Luisa Sernicola, Prof. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Shoshana Ben-Dor, Dr. Yehuda Dagan, Semira Mohammed, Seminew Asrat, Laka Andarge, Tadela Takele, Ismail Ibrahim, Chen Zeigen, Qes Samay Elyas, Qes Addisu Baynasay, Makonnen Sem’on, Abebe Asfaw Tadege, Tadele Molla Tegegne and Yonas Addisu Takele.




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Cite this article as: barkribus, "Medieval Betä Ǝsra’el V: Conclusions," in Africana, 27/02/2018,

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