Aphrodite and Odeon Found at Hippos

The University of Haifa has announced some discoveries from its 2009 season of excavations at Hippos/Sussita, reported in a press release (Hebrew) and in an English article in Ha’aretz

Remains of an ancient cult to the goddess of love have come to light in the southern Golan Heights site of Susita.
At the site, on a 350 meter-high-plateau overlooking the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, archaeologists found a cache of three figurines of Aphrodite (whom the Romans called Venus), dating back about 1,500 years. The figurines, made of clay, are about 30 centimeters tall. They depict the nude goddess standing, with her right hand covering her private parts – a type of statue scholars call “modest Venus.”

I’m personally more interested in another find, described at the conclusion of the article:

Another special find at Susita is an odeon – a small, roofed theater-like structure with seats for about 600 people, uncovered for the first time in Israel, according to the excavators. They said such structures were fairly common in the Roman period and were used for the reading of poetry and musical presentations to a select audience, in contrast to theaters, which could seat around 4,000 people.

The claim that this is the first odeon discovered in Israel is not true; another has been excavated at Aphek/Antipatris (NEAEH 1: 71, with photo).

The press release includes several photos.

HT: Joe Lauer


3 thoughts on “Aphrodite and Odeon Found at Hippos

  1. Brian – I don't know. Archaeologists (and scholars in general) like to be the first, and this could just be a case of such. Also, they can be so narrowly focused that they are not aware of the bigger world. And it's possible that the identification of the structure at Aphek has been revised since NEAEH (1992) and I am unaware of it.

  2. Exactly, the one in Aphek have been dug partially recently and still it is not clear what type of structure – theatre like, it is. The full idea about "being the first" is related to idea that it well could be a bouleuterion and if so then indeed it's the first not only in Israel but in the entire region. Perhaps next month answers will be given once we unearth the orchestra area.

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