Monday, March 09, 2015

More on the Sixth Legion excavation

POPULAR ARCHAEOLOGY: Archaeologists Return to Unearth Base of the Roman Sixth Legion. Remains of walls, barracks and artifacts testify to a major 2nd-3rd century CE Roman military presence near ancient Megiddo, Israel. Excerpt:
But real validation didn’t come until 2010, when Tepper began focused archaeological investigations at el-Manach using a variety of remote sensing techniques. This, along with data acquired through preliminary archaeological and historical work, led to the first full-scale excavation at el-Manach in 2013, employing a team of archaeologists, American and European students, and participants from local youth and community groups under co-directors Tepper and Matthew J. Adams of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and Jonathan David of Gettysburg College.

What they found at the site, now referred to as Legio after an associated ancient place name, was nothing short of reaffirming.

“The data gathered so far in survey, research, and excavations shows a complex and unexpected settlement scenario at Legio,” wrote Tepper, et al. in a project summary soon to be published in Popular Archaeology Magazine. “At its heart is a large legionary base of the Sixth Legion, perhaps accommodating the full legion of nearly 5,000 soldiers from all over the empire. Nearby would have been a vicus, an ad hoc civilian settlement providing entertainment, commercial support, and other services for the men of the legion. At Kefar ‘Othnay, just south of the base, was a Jewish-Samaritan village in which there is evidence for an early Christina gathering place, dedicated in part by a Roman centurion.”
Background here.