Hasmoneans ruled in Negev, new dig finds


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The rule of the Hasmonean dynasty extended south to the Negev, new archaeological excavations have found.

"The Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus, great-grandson of Matityahu, conquered Gaza and the Negev and for decades prevented the Nabateans from using the Incense Road,” said Dr. Tali Erickson-Gini of the Israel Antiquities Authority in a statement released Thursday. 

The Nabateans were an ancient Semitic people from southern Jordan, Canaan and the northern part of Arabia.

“We are talking about a revolutionary discovery that will redraw the maps of the region which describe that era and greatly increase the territory governed by the Hasmoneans into the heart of the Negev Highlands as we know it," said Erickson-Gini, scientific editor of the excavation at Horvat Ma’agurah, near Sde Boker in the south. "This is an important discovery from an archaeological and historical standpoint." 

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