The village of Emmaus is the place where one of the major New Testament stories played out as the Son of God is thought to have appeared there after he was executed. Although the Bible contains several hints about the mysterious site, scientists have struggled to find it for ages.
An archaeological site called Kiriath-jearim – located about 13 kilometres away from the Old City of Jerusalem – has been proposed as the legendary village of Emmaus, where Jesus re-appeared after he was crucified, according to the Gospel of Luke.
Professor from the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University Israel Finkelstein and his colleague, Professor of biblical studies at Collège de France Thomas Römer, have suggested that the site is the Biblical place that historians have been struggling to find in a new paper, expected to be released in the series “New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region”.
Apart from its location, which fits the biblical description of Emmaus, said to be “60 stadia” away from Jerusalem, the recent findings at the Kiriath-jearim excavation site have also re-enforced their theory, Live Science reports. The fortifications discovered there were allegedly renovated around the same period (the first half of the 2nd century BC) when Emmaus was fortified by the Seleucid Empire, which was in control of the area, as the Book of Maccabees points out.
However, according to the outlet, there is still a possibility that Kiriath-jearim could be another site rebuilt by the Seleucids. Additionally, pottery discovered at the site also indicates that people lived in Kiriath-jearim at the time of Jesus, who is considered by many historians to have been a real historical figure.
At the same time, there are problems that could undermine Kiriath-jearim’s link to Emmaus, primarily its name. While it has no linguistic connection to Emmaus, other “contenders” that historians have named before carry at least a vague resemblance.