July 19, 2019     16 Tammuz 5779
Places To Tour in Israel - Off the Beaten Trail
     Places to Tour Israel - Off the Beaten trail

The Atari Ruins

The Atari Ruins - Adulam Park
By: Ari Levitas

One of the extraordinary things about Israel is that there is so much history just waiting to be discovered. The Atari Ruins in Adulam Park, right nearby Beit-Shemesh, is one of many ruins in the area. This Ruin is located on one of the hilltops in the adulam caves park. These ruins are a real discovery. You can walk around, between the rocky walls, see caves, ancient mikvos or just enjoy the relaxing scenery. Don't forget to bring water with you, seeing that it could be very hot.
This hike is appropiate for all ages and very nice for couples. The visit is short and beautiful and gives a vivid example of how life in the village was in that period. If wanted bring flashlight 

The Atari ruins, located on the mountain top which is approxamately 406 meters, are the remains of an old village from before and after the time of the Second Temple. The location of the village grants full control over its surroundings. The many wine press teach us the importance of the economic field in that period.
While walking between the ruins you will see the houses that were built, mikvos, wine press, underground caves and underground hiding systems.
In the first century the village grew tremendously to 12 dunam. There is no question about the village being a jewish village. There are much evidence to this such as: three mikvos, rock utensils, coins from the time period of the big rebellion, earthenware candles with jewish designs and much more. The village was attacked in the year 69 CE.
The village was reestablished throughout the period between the big rebellion to the bar kochba rebellion. The village's builders built hiding systems, water gathering systems, food preservatory systems and thickened the walls and strengthened the defense. All of this was done as preperations to the bar kochba rebellion. The village took part in the bar kochba rebellion and near the end was destroyed.
It has been documented that in these ruins were found bone remains of 15 people which were buried together with their belongings. At least one of them was headless because of a sword swing.
After the destruction of the village, the village was abandoned for 70 years and in the year 200 AC the pheagan population who were survivors from the roman prison rebuilt and reestablished the village.
There is a 40 meter underground hiding system which you can crawl into and come out at the other end. A flashlight is required.
The site was excavated in recent years by Dr. Boaz Zissu and Amir Ganor. The appropriation of the name 'Atari', which is not yet marked in the older edition of the footpath marking maps, is based on an ostracon (broken piece of clay) with the inscription 'Atra' on it. It was found in the site and probably was used as a sort of agricultural receipt. They assume that the large public building may have functioned as a synagogue or as a meeting place.
How to get there: Highway 1 to the Beit Shemesh exit (Highway 38). Continue on Highway 38 past Beit Shemesh.  Continue past the E'lah junction south on Highway 38.  Pass by the Givat Yishayahu-Srigim Junction and after about 500 meters turn left-east (across from the entrance to mitzpe masua) onto a paved pathway to Adulam Park. From this point follow the wooden JNF signs. At the beginning follow the black path. After about 2.4 kilometers at a fork in the road, turn left to Churvat Midras, and continue following the green path untill the T-Junction (3.4 km). Here turn right and continue about half a kilometer still following the green path. Next to shidrat Broshim turn left onto the blue path and continue about one kilometer until Churvat Atari's parking area.  From here begins a short hike up to the peak of the mountain to the Atari ruins. 
ore Pictures:

Entrance to the Atari ruins

Part of the ruins

Resting spot near hilltop

Overview of the ruins 

One of the various caves/mikvos

Stairs descending down to the ancient water hole

Other links of interest:


References: Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - KKL

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