The skeleton of a woman with a gold dove-shaped pendant was discovered under the tiles of a collapsed roof at the Hippos-Sussita excavation site
Silent evidence of a large earthquake in 363 CE — the skeleton of a woman with a dove-shaped pendant was discovered under the tiles of a collapsed roof by archeologists from the University of Haifa during this excavation season at Hippos-Sussita.
They also found a large muscular marble leg and artillery ammunition from some 2,000 years ago. “The data is finally beginning to form a clear historical-archaeological picture,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the international excavation team.
The past fifteen excavation seasons at Hippos-Sussita, run by archeologists from the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, have not stopped providing a constant flow of fascinating findings. The team digging at the city site — situated east of the Sea of Galilee in the Sussita National Park, which is under the management of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority — has grown over the years, with more and more teams and excavators from various countries joining them. This time, the security situation in the south of Israel “sent” them a Canadian team, led by Dr. Stephen Chambers, as reinforcement.
The city of Hippos-Sussita, which was founded in the second century BCE, experienced two strong and well-documented earthquakes. The first was in the year 363 CE and it caused heavy damage. The city, did, however, recover.
The great earthquake of 749 CE destroyed the city which was subsequently abandoned completely. Evidence of the extensive damage caused by the earthquake of 363 was found in earlier seasons. None, however, was as violent, thrilling and eerie as the evidence discovered this year.
To the north of the basilica, the largest building in town that served as the commercial, economic and judicial center of the city, the dig’s senior area supervisor Haim Shkolnik and his team unearthed the remains of several skeletons that had been crushed by the weight of the collapsed roof. Among the bones of one of the women lay a gold dove-shaped pendant.
This year, evidence was found for the first time that the great earthquake of 363 CE had destroyed the Roman bathhouse, which was uncovered by the team run by Arleta Kowalewska from Poland. Like the basilica, it too was not rebuilt. According to Dr. Eisenberg, the evidence found so far shows that the earthquake was so powerful it completely destroyed the city, which took some twenty years to be rebuilt.
Among the wreckage from the bathhouse, an excellent Roman marble sculpture of a muscular right leg of a man leaning against a tree trunk was found. “It is too early to determine who the man depicted in the sculpture was. It could be the sculpture of a god or an athlete; it was more than two meters tall. We hope to find more parts of the sculpture in the coming seasons to shed some light on his identity,” said Dr. Eisenberg.
Excavations were resumed in the bastion, the main defense post of the Roman period city built on the southern edge of the cliff, where the work focused on the fortified position of a projectile machine that propelled/launched ballista stones. The catapult was some eight meters long according to the size of the chamber.
So far the archeologists have found a number of ballista balls that fit the massive catapult, as well as smaller balls that were used on smaller ballista machines. These machines were positioned above the bastion’s vaults and were used to launch basalt ballista balls slightly smaller than soccer balls as far as 350 meters.
A section of the western part of the city’s main colonnaded street, which traversed its entire length of 600 meters from east to west (the decumanus maximus) was excavated this year with the help of a Canadian team, after their planned dig in the south was cancelled.
The archeologists uncovered another original piece of the wall that supported the street columns, confirming the theory that it had been a magnificent colonnaded street similar to those of the Roman East cities that were built at the peak of the Pax Romana — the Roman era of peace during the first few centuries CE.
While working on the dig the team also invested a lot of work on the site’s conservation. “I am extremely proud that we were able to organize a sizable conservation team this year as well, from our own internal budgets and with the help of the Western Galilee College in Acre. Twenty-two students from the college’s Department of Conservation together with five experienced conservators under the direction of Julia Burdajewicz from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw conducted the conservation work. This is one of the major tourist destinations in the northern part of the country, and as such I see this as a national mission, even if the budget comes primarily from our own sources, without government support,” concluded Dr. Eisenberg.
Omri Salner | University of Haifa
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences