The Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel)

The Caves of Maresha  and Bet Guvrin  in the Judean Lowlands  as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel).  A “city under a city”, this site characterized by a selection of man-made caves, excavated from the thick and homogenous layer of soft chalk   in Lower Judea. It includes chambers and networks with varied forms and functions, situated below the ancient  twin towns of   Maresha and Bet Guvrin, that bear witness to a succession of historical periods of excavation and usage  stretching over 2,000 years, from the Iron Age to the Crusades, as well as  a great variety of subterranean  construction methods. The original excavations were quarries, but these were converted for various agricultural and local craft industry purposes, including oil presses, columbaria (dovecotes), stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tomb complexes and places of worship , and hiding places during troubled times.