Conspicuous Construction: New Light on Funerary Monuments in Rural Early Roman Judea from Horvat Midras

Gregg E. Gardner, Orit Peleg-Barkat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses the growing trend in Late Hellenistic-and Early Roman-era Judea (ca. 200 B.C.E.– 70 C.E.) for constructing “display tombs”—funerary architecture designed to achieve maximum visibility and project the status of the individual or family who financed the construction, not just in the cities, but also in the countryside. It uses the case study of the recently excavated pyramidal tomb marker at Horvat Midras (Israel), an affluent village, located on the border of Idumea and Judea about 30 km southwest of Jerusalem in the Judean Foothills. After a detailed discussion of the new finds, it is placed within the material and broader socioeconomic contexts of rural Judea in these periods. As will be shown, this monument’s architectural style, location, and other attributes enhance our understanding of monumental funerary architecture in rural settings, adds new archaeological data to often-overlooked rural areas, and contributes to a better understanding of socioeconomic elites in rural Judea at this time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalBulletin of ASOR
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2024 American Society of Overseas Research. All rights reserved.


  • burial
  • elites
  • funerary
  • Hellenistic
  • Idumea
  • Judea
  • Roman
  • rural
  • tomb
  • village


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