The Excavations of Maresha Subterranean Complex 57: The ‘Heliodorus’ Cave

Ian Stern with contributions by Bernie Alpert, Einat Ambar-Armon, Donald Ariel, Baruch Brandl, Avner Ecker, Adi Erlich, Esther Eshel, Gerald Finkielsztejn, Dov Gera, Hava Korzakova and Lee Perry-Gal


Maresha is located in the Judean lowlands approximately 40 km southwest of Jerusalem and approximately 30 km southeast of Ashkelon. This volume is the final report of one of the most interesting subterranean complexes at Maresha. Located in close proximity to an area identified as a temple or shrine, its contents suggest a possible connection to this structure. It was within this cave complex that the “Heliodorus” stele was discovered (Chapter 12), along with Aramaic (Chapter 8) and Greek ostraca (Chapter 9), numerous figurines (Chapter 6), kernos lamps (Chapter 5), coins (Chapter 10), stamped handles (Chapter 7), astragals and an extraordinary array of faunal remains (Chapter 11). In addition, a 7th century BCE bulla of a sphinxa was found (Chapter 4).