Saturday, September 02, 2006

Tiberias Theater to Be Excavated

The Israeli government is planning on investing $5 million in the development of an archaeological park in Tiberias. Excavations have been ongoing in the city under the direction of Yizhar Hirschfeld, and the new funding will go towards the excavation of the Roman theater, according to a note in Haaretz.

The theater was discovered in 1990 and was a surprise to archaeologists because no ancient sources mention the building. Tiberias was founded by Herod Antipas in 19 A.D., and scholars believe the theater was built in the 2nd or 3rd centuries and remained in use through the Byzantine period. The theater is located at the foot of Mount Berenice and has an estimated seating capacity of 5,000.

Last year Hirschfeld published a handbook about Tiberias, which pulls all of the sources about the city together into a single, easy-to-read work: Roman, Byzantine, and Early Muslim Tiberias: A Handbook of Primary Sources. The book is available for $20 from the excavator or from Amazon for double the cost. Proceeds from sales go to the archaeological excavation.

Visible remains of Tiberias theater

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