1,800-Year-Old “Iron Legion” Roman Legionary Base Discovered in Israel

Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced that a 1,800-year-old “Iron Legion” Roman legionary base was discovered at Tel Megiddo, the site of the ancient city of Megiddo, near Haifa.

According to the announcement, the excavations on the site uncovered “extensive and impressive architectural remains” of the main road that led to the camp as well as “semicircular-shaped podium and stone-paved areas which were part of a large, monumental public building.”

Dr. Yotam Tepper, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, says that the legionary base, belonging to the VIth Legion, housed more than 5,000 Roman soldiers for around 180 years, starting from 120 CE to about 300 CE. It is the only base of this size to be discovered in Israel.

Smaller Roman camps have been uncovered in the past, but this is the first time that remains of an entire complex have been found. Some historical records point out the existence of a similar Roman legionary base in Jerusalem, but its remains are yet to be discovered.

“The unique contribution of the results of this research project lies in the rarity of such archaeological discoveries,” Tepper said.

During the excavations, Tepper and his team also uncovered parts of weapons, coins, pottery, as well as roof tiles with VIth Legion stamps.

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