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Roman-Era Gateway Found in Jewish Town in Northern Israel

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

House of GatesHAIFA, ISRAEL—The Times of Israel reports that a Roman-era gateway has been identified in northern Israel at the site of Beit She’arim, Hebrew for “House of Gates.” The small town was a center of Jewish culture, and known as the headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish judicial and scholarly council, and the site where the Mishna, or Jewish oral law, was compiled in the second century A.D. The gate was built next to a circular tower with limestone blocks. Traces of postholes for doors and locks have been found in the soil. “As far as we were aware, a settlement of this type wasn’t supposed to be ringed by a wall,” said archaeologist Adi Erlich of the University of Haifa, “and therefore it was almost obvious that the name Beit She’arim wasn’t connected to the word ‘gate.’” It had been thought that the word ‘gate’ could refer to the entrances to rock-cut tombs on a nearby hillside. The fortifications may have been built to protect prominent citizens, or the town may have been part of a larger Roman fortress. To read about another recent discovery in Israel, go to “Sun and Moon.”

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