The site is located on the eastern side of Netufa valley, located on the ancient road to the sea of Galilee. It is named after the pillars that are standing in the site, and are part of a 2nd C Ad Synagogue.
This site is close to the main road, and known to many drivers who pass this point. A pillar stands in the center of the ruins and once belonged to a 2nd/3rd C AD synagogue.
Khorvat (Khirbet) Ammudim is located on an ancient trade road from Hannathon and Sepphoris towards Tiberias and sea of Galilee. Jesus must have passed this site on his frequent travels between his home town, Nazareth, and his base of activities in Capernaum.
The site is located at the peak of the hill between the valley and the Arbel creek, and the caravans that passed this peak required water, food and lodging.
The village was established about the Hasmonaim period (2nd C BC) , peaked in the Roman period, and continued through the Byzantine period (6 C AD) to the early Arab period (7th C AD). Today it is in ruins. It was part of the chain of villages on the main ancient road.
The site was excavated in 1905, and the synagogue was unearthed. A stone tablet was found in the synagogue, with an Aramaic inscription, which decorates the synagogue to Joezer the cantor and his brother Simon.
It is not clear what was the name of the ancient village. According to some scholars it was Kefar Uziel.
The following aerial view shows the points of interest. You can point on the purple points to navigate to the selected point. The view is from east to west, and the ancient east-west road that passed near the site is shown on the view.
The following photo shows a general view of the site from the south. The pillar marks the place of the synagogue.
Click on the photo to view it in higher resolution...
A look from the eastern side of the site, facing west. The synagogue is seen in the center. The Netufa valley is behind the right background, and the ancient road passed at this point from west to east (towards the sea of Galilee). The modern road also passes at this pint, and it is very easy to park the car and walk to the site (from a gate on the west side).
The size of the structure is 22.75 x 14.10M, and had 2 rows of round pillars on both sides. Each pillar stood on a low stone base (38 x 40 cm). The pillar that is left standing was in the north-west corner of the hall. On top of the central entrance to the synagogue was a large stone, engraved with 2 lions facing each other, and a large vase between their two heads. This stone lies broken in the southern side, where the entrance used to be.
A closer look on the design of the pillar shows a heart-shaped design, which is typical to the Synagogues in the Galilee at that time (such as nearby Arbel).
A view from the north side of the synagogue. The entrance was on the south side.
The site is on the high edge of the Netufa (Netofa, Netopha) valley, and has an excellent view of its northern part. Near these tin houses, used by local farmers, was the route of the ancient road towards Tiberias. This is where Jesus has traveled between his home towns, Nazareth (in the left background) and Capernaum (towards Tiberias).
In the background, on the left side of the far edge of the valley, is yet another site from the same period - called Kh. Netufa. Near its hill is an open canal with the waters of the National Water Carrier project, that carries water, pumped from the sea of Galilee, towards the south of Israel.
Archaeological dig by Kohel Uvazinger. (1905)
L. I. Levine. "Excavations at the Synagogue of Horvat `Ammudim." Israel Exploration Journal. 32 (1982): 1-12
Etymology (behind the name):