Professor David Hanlon (left) and Robert McWhorter (right) standing in the east end of the nave with the space in the east nave wall that opens into the Haikal (Syriac, holy room).


Architectural features in the east end of the Area 3 church include the apse, haikal, derage, sacristy, and grave


The Ayyubid Phase of the Area 3 mudbrick church with the 3 steps of the derage (Syraic, steps) leading from the nave into the haikal (Syriac, holy room). The floor of the nave was smooth, white plaster. The interior of the nave was divided into two halves by two pilasters and two narrow plaster walls. The inference is that the east half (adjacent to the haikal) of the nave was reserved for the men while the west half of the nave was reserved for the use by women.


The 3 steps of the derage (Syraic, steps) leading from the nave into the Haikal (Syriac, holy room) were cross-sectioned. The upper surface of the derage dates to the Ayyubid Period. Another layer of steps, buried below the Ayyubid Period steps, dates to the Abbasid Period.


Reconstruction by Professor David Hanlon of the molded and painted lintel that stood above the doorway into the haikal. It was probably destroyed during the unrest in the 11th century AD.


Vivid reds and black paint highlighted the molded designs on a portion of the lintel dating to the Abbasid Caliphate.


The reds and black paint highlighing the molded designs were protected by being cemented into the rubble below the steps of the derage between the nave and the haikal.


Thin piece of smoothed limestone with the incised and painted design of a cross. This artifact was discovered in Square 30, locus 02. Two faint words, written in Syriac, are located on each side of the cross.


The fragments of a glass window was found inside the Area 3 mudbrick church. The location of the fragments indicate that the window was located in the haikal (Syriac, temple room) and probably in the curved apsidal wall. This would have allowed a shaft of morning light to illuminate the Methbah (Syria, altar) of the church.


Closeup of the disk of glass embedded in the plaster window frame discovered during 1989 in the Area 3 mudbrick church.


Black plaster outlined the last altar that stood inside the apse. An earlier altar footing is represented by tan plaster.


Black plaster outlined the last altar that stood inside the apse. An earlier altar footing is represented by tan plaster.


Two phases of the derage (Syriac, steps) connecting the sanctuary of the church with the hiakal (Syriac, Holy Room).


View of the Ayyubid Period derage (Syriac, steps) connecting the sanctuary of the church with the hiakal (Syriac, Holy Room). The remains of the Ayyubid Period methbah (Syriac, altar) are visible in the center of the apse.


View of the Ayyubid Period derage (Syriac, steps) connecting the sanctuary of the church with the hiakal (Syriac, Holy Room). The remains of the Ayyubid Period methbah (Syriac, altar) are visible in the center of the apse.


Test pit that dissected the Ayyubid Phase altar footings (upper surface) showing the fill layer and buried footings of the Late Roman / Byzantine Phase altar (lower surface). The term in Syriac for the altar is Methbah.


Black and white photograph of the Byzantine lintel found embedded under the Abbasid Period derage.


Archbishop Matta Rohm of the Syrian Orthodox Church (left) and Professor Michael Fuller (right) discuss the functions of a mudbrick lined niche in the north wall of the sacristy which was located south of the haikal.


Closeup of the mudbrick lined niche in the north wall of the sacristy.


Five fragments of a broken fired brick were reused in an outdoor altar built against the south outer wall of the mudbrick church during the Ayyubid Period. These fragments were discovered in 1988 and a faint Syriac inscription was recognized around the design of a forked arm cross.


A shallow plaster lined pit near the surface of the Area 3 mound. This feature was constructed on top of the ruined mudbrick church during the Ayyubid Period or Al-Khanid Period. Blue glazed hooded saucer lamps were found embedded in plaster near the shallow basin. We infer that the basin was used for baptism or a footwashing ritual. The shallow basin may have been shielded from view by a tent or walls made from perishable material such as reeds.


Cutaway plan of the Area 3 during the final phase. The nave floor space was subdivided into the female (pink) and male (sectors). The narrow passageway (yellow) from the women's sector allowed access to the baptistery.


Phase 1: Earliest structure - Byzantine Period.


Phase 2: Church with steps added to the haikal - Abbasid Period.


Phase 3 church - Seljuk Period.


Phase 4: Ayyubid Period. Gray color designates the haikal and the green color designates the sacristy that also served as a baptistery.


View of the front (looking east) of the Phase 4 church during the Ayyubid Period.


View of the side (looking north) of the Phaes 4 church during the Ayyubid Period.


Conjectured view of the derage (Syriac, steps) and methbah (Syriac, altar).


Photographic credit: Professor David Hanlon, SLCC - MC
Last updated 25 February 2005.
Migrated 1 April 2008
Updated 25 December 2008