al-Yatim Mosque (Tel Shiloh)

Located on the south side of Tel Shiloh, about 20m from the hillside, is an Ottoman period Muslim structure called Mosque of the Orphans (Arabic: Jameh el Yetimi, جامع اليتم). It is dated to the early middle ages, and is one of the two mosques in Tel Shiloh, the other being the Jameh al-Arb'een (Mosque of the Forty). It's later Arabic name may have refered to the biblical tradition of Ichabod's orphan birth after the death of Eli as mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:19-21. The fact that some of the churches became mosques during the Arab period demonstrates Tel Shiloh’s significance as a place of worship passed on from one religion to another, even when its inhabitants changed.

circa 350 CE

Jamia el Yeteim is a low building of stone, roughly squared, with a door on the north. It has a mihrab on the south, and is divided into two aisles, being rather longer east and west than north and south. There is an outer stairway to the roof. South of this is a small birkeh with steps to it". Today, the al-Yatim Mosque (Jami’ al-Yatim) stands at the heart of the site on top of the remains of a Byzantine Church. The mosque was used by the residents of Qaryut until the end of the 1970s.

circa 350 CE

It is a small building with a south facing prayer niche (mihrab), built on the ruins of an earlier Byzantine Church. The Arabic nae 'al-Jama'a al-Yatim' maybe preserving a tradition on the grave of the family of Eli, the last high priest in the Mishkan of Shiloh, who died after the Israelites' defeat in the battle against the Philistines. His grandsone, Ichabod, was born on the same day as an orphan. Some scholars believe that this one of the mosques described by R. Ashtori HaParhi, who visited Shiloh in the 14th century CE, when the building was called "Me'ida Bnei Yisrael" - "The place of sons of Israel's Tablets". The large oak tree in the picture has been removed.

circa 350 CE

Two Byzantine churches discovered one on top of the other. The lower church was built at the end of the 4th century CE and is one of the oldest churches in Israel. The upper church was built in the 6th century CE and continued to exist into the beginning of the early Isalmic period. The church were paved with mosaics that were preserved almost intact, and included Greek inscriptions. One of them explicitly mentions the name Shiloh, in a prayer for the welfare of Shiloh and its inhabitants. This inscription confirms the identification of the site as ancient Shiloh.

circa 350 CE

Archaeologists exposed Byzantine mosaics under the Mosque that may have belonged to earlier church, one built in the 6th century CE and the lower one in the 4th century CE. The lower level may have been built over the ruins of an ancient synagogue. The mosaics included several Greek inscriptions, one of them refers to the place as the "village of Shiloh".

circa 350 CE

Today, the al-Yatim Mosque (Jami’ al-Yatim) stands at the heart of the site on top of the remains of a Byzantine Church. The mosque was used by the residents of Qaryut until the end of the 1970s. The remains of another mosque, Jami’ al-Sittin (Mosque of the Forty) – is located in the entrance to the parking lot across from the present-day visitors’ center.

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