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Shivta is an archeological site in the Negev Desert of Israel. Long considered a classic Nabatean[?] town and terminal on the ancient spice route, archeologists are now considering the possibility that the town was actually a Byzantine agricultural colony and a way station for pilgrims en route to the Santa Katerina monastery, located on the supposed site of Mount Sinai. The new assessment of Shivta is based on an analysis of the irrigation system found at the site, which bears parallels to Byzantine structures elsewhere. Until now, the preponderance of Byzantine ruins were believed to be the remains of a monastic community that established itself on the ruins of an earlier Nabatean town.

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