Israel's Recent Discoveries
Excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have been taking place in
Tiberias at three different locations on the Sea of Galilee. Archaeologists discovered a Roman stadium dating back to the first century, which is also mentioned in the writings of Flavius Josephus.
Inhabitants of this ancient town used the stadium for various events such as chariot racing and a gathering place for special occasions. In 67 AD, the Romans captured thousands of Jews and assembled them in the stadium. After a bloody battle between the Romans and Jews near Migdal, a town on the Sea of Galilee that was home to Mary Magdalene, the Romans executed 1,200 of the elderly and sick, and sold the remaining 37,000 inhabitants into slavery.
Remnants from the early Islamic period (633) were also discovered. The findings include coins, glass, pottery, iron equipment and the well-preserved remains of a building from Ottoman times (1516).
In another area, archaeologists uncovered layers from the early Islamic, Crusader (1099), Mameluk (1260), and Ottoman (1516) periods. After discovering loads of washed up remnants from the Roman Period (70), archaeologists concluded that during these times the western part of the city must have been located higher up the hill.
At the city park, archaeologists uncovered the remains of houses, courtyards and whitewashed cisterns found in a settlement from the 9th and 10th centuries. Researchers say that during this time, the city reached its peak in expansion. Despite the huge earthquake of 749 AD, which struck the entire country and destroyed many communities, the city expanded northward.
IAA archaeologist Moshe Hartal, a leader of the excavations, said they're making an important contribution to understanding the dimensions of
Tiberias during different periods. Their findings can also contribute to better city planning, as authorities seek to preserve the ancient ruins.
Steeped in History: The Jewish people have a long history on the Sea of Galilee