The Necropolis of Bet She’arim is an ancient Jewish cemetery established during the early Roman Empire:
Hewed into the limestone slopes of hills bordering the Vale of Jezre’el, a series of man-made catacombs was developed from the 2nd century AD as the necropolis of Bet She’arim. It became the primary Jewish burial place outside Jerusalem following the failure of the second Jewish revolt against Roman rule and the catacombs are a treasury of eclectic art works and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Palmyrene. Bet She’arim is associated with Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, the spiritual and political leader of the Jewish people who composed the Mishna and is credited with Jewish renewal after 135 AD.
The catacombs of Bet She’arim show the influence of classical Roman art including human images, inscriptions, and decorative details, and include iconographic motifs and multi-language inscriptions testifying to cross-cultural interaction with the Greco-Roman artistic cultural world of Europe, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, and the Jewish cultural world. The assimilation of burial types and artistic expression together with inscriptions indicating the origins of those buried in the cemetery testify to the wide dispersal of the Jewish people at that time and the incorporation into Jewish religious culture of influences from the surrounding populations. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #1471)
A “necropolis” is a “city of the dead” — a synonym for cemetery and an excellent advanced vocabulary word for your homescholars. Browse your homeschool dictionary for a host of words built on the roots necro- and poli- (not to be confused with poly-). To go with necropolis, see what your students can discover about acropolis, cosmopolis, and metropolis.
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Necropolis of Bet She’arim on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list online at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures are you exploring in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇮🇱
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌍