During my 1993-98 excavations at
Noteworthy is a complex of six warehouses comprising the second urban insula, extending to the south of the palace. Examination of the finds indicated that these 4th century structures were associated with the food supply for the local population. Basic foodstuff like corn, oil and wine were stored therein to guarantee adequate supply under restrained prices.
In the southwest sector of the excavated area was exposed the carceres (starting gates) of the Herodian hippodrome, extending along the seashore. The starting gates are telling us about the sort of chariot racing that took place in the hippodrome. These were Hellenistic in character, in the tradition of
Other than the impressive architecture, a wealth of small finds, of all sorts, was retrieved from the excavated area.
The area excavated - ca. 8.000sqm - comprised two entire urban blocks (insulae), and two others, which were only partially uncovered. The four insulae were separated from each other by two intersecting streets - a cardo and a decumanus (plans of the excavated area are attached). The NW insula served since the last quarter of the first century CE (ca. 70 CE) as the palace (praetorium) of the financial procurator of the Roman
The SW insula was a complex of six warehouses constructed in the fourth century, for the storage of local foodstuffs - corn, oil and wine. It seems that these warehouses were associated with the governor’s palace. The two other insulae, located in the eastern part of the excavated area, and only partially exposed, seem to be associated as well with the government compound.
In the NW insula - the palace/praetorium - the public-administrative wing was entirely exposed. It comprised an audience hall constructed over a lower story of four vaults, and surrounded by various offices. Greek inscriptions indicate that the audience hall served as a law-court of the Byzantine governor. A complex of seven rooms on its NE corner, exposed in the seventies by the Joint Expedition to Caesarea Maritima headed by R. Bull, had served as a provincial tax revenue office according to the evidence of the Greek inscriptions found therein. A second hall, to the N of the audience hall, served as an archive, as is suggested by typical square niches in its wall, installed to hold wooden cupboards (armaria).
The bath house of the palace extended on its NW corner. Its cold room, paved and revetted in marble, was entirely exposed. Parts of the heated rooms were exposed as well. The private wing, that served as the residency, seems to have occupied the N part of the insula. It was severely damaged in the Arab and Crusader periods, due to the construction of the city wall and moat. Presently it is buried under a modern dirt road.
We are dealing with a unique architectural complex of great significance as is suggested by the inscriptions, and its state of preservation is remarkable.
In the southwest sector of the excavated area was uncovered another significant architectural complex - the starting gates (carceres ) of the Herodian Hippodrome. The racing course (arena) and seats of this 300m long structure were exposed by the IAA expedition farther to the south, along the seashore. Three principal phases and more sub-phases make this complex the best known in the entire Roman world. These phases are telling us about the sort of chariot racing that took place in the hippodrome, being Hellenistic in character, in the tradition of
Preliminary reports and studies
Preliminary report on the 1993-1998 excavations:
1996. “Warehouses and Granaries in Caesarea Maritima,” in: A. Raban & K. G. Holum (eds.), Caesrea Maritima - Retrospective After two Millennia, Brill-Leiden, pp. 146-76.
1998. "Urban Ruralization in Provincia Palaestina: The Demise of the Byzantine Praetorium at
1998. Cesárea Marítima, in: Marc Mayer and Isabel Roda (eds.), Ciudades Antiguas del Mediterráneo, Barcelona, pp. 302-304.
1999. "The warehouse complex and governor’s palace (areas KK, CC, and NN, May 1993‑December 1995),” in:
2000. “A Government Compound in Roman-Byzantine Caesarea”, in Proceedings of the Twelfth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division B, History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem, pp. 35*-44* (English section).
2000. "A Chapel of
2001. "Urban Space in Caesarea Maritima,
2001. "The Carceres of the Herodian Hippodrome/Stadium at
2001. "Césarée. Une chapelle dédiée à saint Paul?", Le Monde de la Bible 136 (2001), p. 57.
2001. "Neue Erkenntnisse bei Ausgrabungen in Cäsarea am Meer: Ein zweites Prätorium in Cäsarea; Neue frühchristliche Funde aus Cäsarea, Welt und Umwelt der Bibel 6/21 (2001), pp. 76-77.
2002. "Herod's Hippodrome/Stadium at
2002. "The Martyrs of Caesarea: the urban context" Liber Annuus 52 (2002).
2002. "Herod's Theater in
2002. "Four Christian Objects from
2003. "Herod's Hippodrome/Stadium at Caesarea in the Context of Greek and Roman Contests and Spectacles," VeZoth-LeYehudah [Yehudah Ben Porath Festschrift], ed. by E. Reiner and Y. Ben Arie, Yad Yizhak Ben Zvi, Jerusalem, pp. 119-166 (Hebrew).
T. Avner, “Early Byzantine Wall Paintings from
J. W. Nesbitt, "Byzantine lead seals from the vicinity of the governor's palace and warehouses (areas CC and KK), in: Kenneth G. Holum, A. Raban and J. Patrich,
C. R. Cope, "Faunal remains and butchery practices from Byzantine and Islamic contexts (1993-94 seasons), in: Kenneth G. Holum, A. Raban and J. Patrich,
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