During the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian (117–138 CE), two imperial legions were stationed in the consular province of Judea: Legio X Fretensis in Jerusalem and Legio VI Ferrata in the north at a place called Caparcotna. The latter legion was deployed more than three decades after the First Jewish Revolt (67–70 CE) and sometime before the Bar-Kokhba rebellion (132–136 CE), and it remained stationed in Judea through most of the third century CE.
Based in the Jezreel Valley somewhere near Tel Megiddo, the Legio VI Ferrata, or the Sixth Ironclad Legion, was well-situated to control imperial roads, with direct access to the Galilee and inland valleys of northern Palestine—important centers of the local, occasionally uproarious, Jewish population. Until recently, the exact location of the castra (“camp” in the sense of a permanent military base) of the Sixth Legion had not been confirmed, but textual evidence places it in the Jezreel Valley along the road from Caesarea to Beth Shean in the vicinity of Megiddo.
The 2013 and 2015 seasons confirmed the location of the Legion’s base, marking the first time a military base of this type for this particular period had been excavated in the entire Eastern Empire. Excavations revealed remains of the fortification wall and moat, barracks, headquarters building, and commander’s residence. The excavation of a Roman military headquarters with clear ties to major political and cultural events in the formative years of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity is exciting in itself, but Legio also provides an incredible new window into the Roman military occupation of the eastern provinces.In 2017 and 2019, the team further explored the headquarters building, and in 2022, we excavated the homes of the soldiers and officers who never left Legio.
In 2023, we’ll be back at the headquarters on the hunt for inscriptions, statues, and other signs of life at Legio.
Jezreel Valley, Northern Israel
June 24 - July 21, 2023
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Up to 6 credits are offered by the University of Hawaii at a cost of $1500.
Our excavation team is housed at a bed-and-breakfast at Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, just a short ride from the excavation site. Team members stay in air-conditioned guest rooms with bathrooms and refrigerators. The kibbutz boasts a grocery store, swimming pool, pub, free wi-fi, and sports facilities. The kibbutz is also centrally located within the country - weekend trips to almost anywhere are manageable.
Matthew J. Adams: The Center for the Mediterranean World
Yotam Tepper: Israel Antiquities Authority and Haifa University