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ARCHELAIS , ancient town in the Jordan Valley, north of Jericho. It was founded by Archelaus, the son of Herod, and was later given to Salome, Herod's sister, who in turn bequeathed it in 10 c.e. to Livia, wife of the emperor Augustus. Archelaus built the town as a center for his vast date groves for which he diverted water extending from the springs of Na'aran (Neara; Jos., Ant. 17:1–340). Pliny the Elder (Nat. Hist. v, 44) also refers to the high quality date groves that once grew in this specific region. According to a Roman road map (tabula Peutingeriana), Archelais was situated 12 Roman miles N. of Jericho; it is similarly indicated on the *Madaba mosaic Map. It is now identified with Khirbet Beiyudat – as originally suggested by H. Guthe – and excavations conducted there in 1986–91 and 1994–99 by H. Hizmi revealed a large building built of ashlars preserved to a height of 30 ft. (9 m.) and a fifth-century c.e. basilica church with highly decorated mosaic floors and a dedicatory inscription. Substantial remains were uncovered from the Second Temple period (first century c.e.), including ritual bathing pools, residential quarters, and pottery and stone vessels, all lending support to the identification of this site as Archelais. A large inn was apparently built at the site at the time of Herod Agrippa i (41–44 c.e.) and much of its plan was revealed during the recent excavations. It was destroyed at the time of Vespasian's march on Jericho in 67–68 c.e.


Guthe, in: mndpv (1911), 65; Abel, in: rb, 22 (1913), 236; Dalman, in: pjb, 9 (1913), 74; Alt, ibid., 23 (1927), 31; 27 (1931), 46; Avi-Yonah, Land, 104, 164. add. bibliography: H. Hizmi, "The Byzantine Church at Khirbet el-Beiyudat – Preliminary Report," in: G.C. Bottini, L. Di Segni, and E. Alliata (eds.), Christian Archaeology in the Holy Land (1990); H. Hizmi, "New Discoveries at the Second Temple Period Site of Archelais," in: Qadmoniot, 37 (2004), 95–101.

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]