Archive - Bet Guvrin Bell Cave

January 13, 2019

Beit Gubrin Bell Cave (3)

Each Sunday we present a notable item from our archives. This EPOD was originally published January 10, 2013.

: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson

Shown above is the Bet Guvrin Bell Cave in central Israel, one of several hundred chalk caves in Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park. These bell-shaped caves are the remains of ancient quarries, probably dating between the 4th – 9th centuries AD. The stone was too soft to be used for building so it was mined to be burnt for lime and used in mortar and plaster. For many of the caves in this complex, a 3 - 5 ft (1 – 1.5 m) hole was initially dug to expose the underground quarry. Later, the entrance was widened to a bell shape as a safety measure in order to avoid collapse and to keep the chalk from drying out. Over the years, local residents have taken advantage of the softness of the chalk, digging innumerable caves not only for lime but also for storerooms, hideouts, burials, etc. Bet Guvrin was an important town in the Roman era, some 1,900 years ago, when it was known as Eleutheropolis. Photo taken on October 27, 2012.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON D80; Focal Length: 18mm (35mm equivalent: 27mm); Aperture: f/5.6; Exposure Time: 0.020 s (1/50); ISO equiv: 1600; Software: Ver.1.00.