The Archaeological Site Caesarea

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The Archaeological Site Caesarea

The Archaeological Site Caesarea


Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea Palaestina from 133 CE onwards, was a city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25-13 BC. Today, its ruins lie on the Mediterranean coast of Israel about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos ("Straton's Tower") . Caesarea Maritima was named to flatter the Caesar. The city was described in detail by the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The city became the seat of the Roman prefect soon after its foundation. The emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a colonia. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Caesarea was the provincial capital of Iudaea Province before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 134 CE, shortly before the Bar Kokhba revolt. Caesarea was the "administrative capital" beginning in 6 CE. In Byzantine times, Caesarea remained the capital, with brief interruption of Persian and Jewish conquest between 614 and 625. In the 630s, Arab Muslim armies had taken control of the region, keeping Caesarea as its administrative center. In the early 8th century, the Umayyad caliph Suleiman transferred the seat of government of the Jund Filastin from Caesarea to Ramla. (Kenneth 1988)

The site of ancient Caesarea (preserved in its Arabic form as Qaisariyeh) is located about 30 miles north of Joppa (Jaffa) and about 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem. The city was founded by Herod the Great (37-4 BCE) on the site of the ancient anchorage known at Strato's Tower (from Abdashtart, the name of a Sidonian king).


Archaeological excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications and a Roman theatre. Other buildings include a temple dedicated to Caesar; a hippodrome rebuilt in the 2nd century as a more conventional theater; the Tiberieum, which has a limestone block with a dedicatory inscription. This is the only archaeological find with an inscription mentioning the name "Pontius Pilatus"; a double aqueduct that brought water from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel; a boundary wall; and a 200 ft (60 m) wide moat protecting the harbour to the south and west. The harbor was the largest on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Worked directed by Robert Bull of Drew University is still in the process of publication while more recent work in the harbor directed by Robert Hohlfelder *U of Colorado, John Oleson of the U of Victoria, and the late Avner Raban has been largely published. Caesarea has recently become the site of what bills itself as the world's first underwater museum, where 36 points of interest on four marked underwater trails through the ancient harbor can be explored by divers equipped with waterproof maps. (Raban 1992) The walls remained, but within them the population dwindled and agriculture crept in among the ruins. When Baldwin I took the city in 1101/2, during the First Crusade, it was still very rich, ...
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