Roman-era column base discovered near Mount Hermon-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Roman-era column base discovered near Mount Hermon-Zamkuwire

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A Roman column at Banias in northern Israel's Golan Heights.

Where the column was made and how it was used remains a mystery

Israeli archaeologists discovered the base of a massive Roman column at the foot of Mount Hermon in the north of Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported this week.

It was discovered near Ein Qiniyye, a Druze locality near Mount Hermon, during a preventive excavation carried out by the IAA before the construction of a school on the site.

The base of the column is enormous. Although only the base itself is present, researchers are already claiming that it is something out of the ordinary. Where the column was manufactured as well as its use remains a mystery, but archaeologists have been able to discover some things from its composition.

If it is impossible to say where the column itself comes from, it was certainly not built and sculpted on site since it is made of limestone, absent from the region, while the local stone is basalt.

Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90
Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90Mount Hermon

In Roman times, columns were generally used to support buildings. However, the enormous dimensions of the one discovered at the foot of the Hermon meant that it had to serve as support for a structure much larger than a conventional building.

The fact that the remains of walls were found near the column supports this hypothesis.

Inside the walls, archaeologists found flowers, a clay candle, and ancient tools. Researchers believe it may have been a flour mill or other agricultural facility.

Other large columns already discovered and comparable to this one are found at Banias, also in the region of Hermon in Israel’s Golan Heights, which once housed the city of Caesarea Philippi.

“The ancient city that was there served as the capital of the region and housed its administrative center,” said Tzviki Badihi, the director of the excavations.

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