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A group of archaeologists excavating at Kiriath Yearim have uncovered clues that they say may identify the site as biblical Emmaus. The excavators unearthed a set of fortifications that are 2200 years old, which they believe were built by the Seleucid general Bacchides, who defeated Judah Maccabee at the Battle of Elasa. The recently discovered walls are up to three meters thick and still stand up to two meters tall in some places. They were dated to the Hellenistic era by means of pottery and Optically Stimulated Luminescence, which reveals when a certain material was last exposed to sunlight. According to 1 Maccabees 9 and Josephus' Antiquities, Bacchides built a group of protective fortresses around Jerusalem. The excavators point out that, while most of the places listed can be identified with sites north, south and east of Jerusalem, Kiriath Yearim, located 7 miles west of Jerusalem, is not on the list by that name. However, the lists do include a site to the west called Emmaus. Israel Finkelstein and Thomas Romer have suggested that, since there are no other major Hellenistic fortresses west of Jerusalem, Kiriath Yearim and the adjacent village of Abu Ghosh ought to be identified as Emmaus. They point out that it matches the biblical description of being 60 stadia (7 miles) from Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35). Other scholars have pointed out that there is not yet enough concrete evidence to identify Kiriath Yearim as Emmaus, and that there are other sites nearby that have been identified as the New Testament town were the Lord Jesus met Cleopas and a friend after his resurrection in Luke 24.

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