The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology

By Andrea M. Berlin; J. Andrew Overman | Go to book overview

5

Phoenicians and Jews

A ceramic case-study

Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Nimrod Getzov

We present a case-study of the Hellenistic and early Roman ceramic storage jars from Yodefat and Bet Zeneta. We have chosen to study the types and distribution of storage jars because, as the main receptacles for both domestic storage and commercial transport of foodstuffs, they are among the most common vessels found at ancient sites. Yodefat and Bet Zeneta are both located in the mountainous region of the Galilee. While both are situated in similar ecological niches, however, their ethnic surroundings differed. Yodefat is within Jewish Galilee, while Bet Zeneta lies close to the Phoenician coastal plain. According to Josephus, the border dividing Jewish Galilee from the Gentile west traversed Beq'a (Peqi'in), about 11 kilometers east of Bet Zeneta (War 3.3.40), thus situating it within Phoenicia proper.


Yodefat

Yodefat (map coordinates: 1763/2486) is located in the southern flanks of the hilly lower Galilee, approximately 22 kilometers southeast of Akko and 9 kilometers north of Zippori (Sepphoris) (Adan-Bayewitz and Aviam 1997). Yodefat is mentioned in a number of ancient sources but is discussed in greatest detail by Josephus (War 3.6-7). It was in Yodefat that Josephus established his seat as the leader of the Jewish revolt in the Galilee. In 67 C.E., after a forty-seven-day siege, Yodefat was captured and totally destroyed by the Roman army.

Seven seasons of excavations were undertaken in Yodefat (1992-7, 1999) in a joint project sponsored by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the University of Rochester (USA). 1 The results of these excavations show that there was a first, meager, occupation of the site during the Persian period. More substantial settlements occurred during the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. The archaeological findings-the defensive walls circumventing the city, weapons such as arrowheads and balista stones and the destruction resulting from battle-substantiate the account of the Roman conquest as related by Josephus. After the destruction carried out by the Roman army in 67 C.E., the site remained uninhabited (for details see Chapter 8 by Aviam in this volume).

-74-

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