2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre discovered in Israel

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Washington, September 19 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has discovered a 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre near Tiberias in Israel.

According to a report in the Haaretz newspaper, Archeologist, Doctor Valid Atrash, from the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the remnants of the Roman amphitheatre peaks from 15 meters below ground.

The 1990 findings came as a surprise to the archeologists digging near Mount Berniki in the Tiberias hills as there are no references to such a place anywhere in scriptures.

Only at the beginning of 2009, 19-years after the primary discovery, did the uncovering of the theatre in its entirety begin.

The late Professor Izhar Hirshfeld and Yossi Stefanski, the archeologists heading the excavation, initially assessed the remains to belong to the 2nd or 3rd century CE, but quickly realized that they go all the way back to the beginning of the 1st century CE, closer to the founding of Tiberias.

"The most interesting thing about the amphitheatre is its Jewish context," said Hirshfeld upon the discovery.

"Unlike Tzipori, which was a multi-cultural city, Tiberias was a Jewish city under Roman rule. The findings demonstrate the city's pluralistic nature and cultural openness, a fact uncommon in those days," Hirshfeld added.

According to Atrash, in light of the findings, Tiberias appears as particularly liberal for a city that was established over 2000 years ago.

He added that "the theatre was enormous, and being so it attracted a lot of attention. It seated over 7000 people, and appears to have been a prominent landmark for the entire area."

Zohar Oved, Mayor of Tiberias, said that the discovery of the amphitheatre is undoubtedly "one of the most important findings in the history of the Jewish people" and is planned to open to the public as part of Tiberias archeological gardens in the near future. (ANI)

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