Beth Shean, Then and Now

Many students have commented to me at the end of a semester that the most impressive site in Israel is Beth Shean.  They are referring to the prominent Roman and Byzantine remains of the lower city that have been excavated and reconstructed in the last 20 years.

If you had visited before that time, the tell was striking, but there was little evidence that a glorious city was buried in the dirt.  I’ve heard, but not seen in a photograph, that there was a lone column sticking out of the ground prior to excavations.

The natives visible in the photo below certainly don’t have any idea of what lies beneath their feet. 

Then again, that’s probably true for hundreds of cities around the world today.

Beth Shean from south, site of recent excavations, mat02786

Beth Shean from the south.  Date of photograph: 1920-1933

Beth Shean excavations with tell, tb011506672

Beth Shean from the south

There is another impressive photo comparison of Beth Shean mid-way down this page at www.lifeintheholyland.com.

The top photograph is one of 600 high-resolution images in the new Northern Palestine CD, volume 1 of The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection. Photo: Library of Congress, LC-matpc-02786.


One thought on “Beth Shean, Then and Now

  1. Pretty crazy to imagine all those guys grazing their animals on top of all those Roman ruins without knowing that they were mere feet underneath them!!! Awesome and useful photos, Todd!

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