Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Silent Evidence of the Earthquake of 363 CE

24.10.2014

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.


Dr. Michael Eisenberg

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.

Contact Information

Omri Salner
English Desk
osalner@univ.haifa.ac.il
Phone: +972-4-824-0092

Omri Salner | University of Haifa

Further reports about: Haifa conservation damage earthquake extensive damage great earthquake muscular sculpture

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>