No longer homeless: two statues find permanent home in regional museum

The finds were dated to the late Roman-early Byzantine period (third to fourth centuries CE), fascinating for the social flux which occurred then.

By HEDDY BREUER ABRAMOWITZ
September 22, 2019 16:53
No longer homeless: two statues find permanent home in regional museum

Roman-era statues discovered near burial site in Beit Shean. (photo credit: EYTAN KLEIN/IAA)

Two Roman statues have just been placed in their new permanent home at the regional archeological and Mediterranean museum of the National Parks Authority at Gan Hashlosha-Sahne Park, it was announced by the Antiquities Authority (IAA) in September.

Statues from the Roman period were accidentally discovered in the winter of 2018 by a sharp-eyed Beit Shean local. While taking a walk near the ancient Roman site, she noticed the top of a head partially sticking out of the earth, apparently exposed due to unusually heavy rains at the time, according to the IAA. After representatives of the Theft Prevention Unit came to inspect the find, the second statue was unearthed. The two statues were taken to the authority for preservation and research.

The finds were dated to the late Roman-early Byzantine period (third to fourth centuries CE).

This archeological period is fascinating for the social flux which occurred then.

Beit Shean shows that it had multi-cultural aspects in that era. It was mostly Christian, but there is evidence of a Jewish presence; a Samaritan synagogue was also found.

Many buildings were destroyed in the 363 CE Galilee earthquake, including a pagan temple. And in 409 CE, Scythopolis, as Beit Shean was known in the Roman era, became the capital of the northern district Palestina Secunda – and then also became the archdiocese of the Roman province.    

The statues' long displacement from a home is now drawing to a close. The IAA has decided to have them join the permanent collections of the Gan Hashlosha–Sahne Museum. 

Dror Segal, director of the museum of archeology, says the sculptures will be in good company as they join a series of Roman sculptures, previously unearthed in the Beit Shean area, which are currently on display in the museum's regional hall.

Entrance to the popular park includes admission to the archaeological museum where the new acquisitions can be viewed. This year, the Gan Hashlosha-Sahne park will be celebrating sixty years since its founding.



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