Bet Shean

I took many, many pictures of this site. Not one picture does it justice. This was a Roman city before, during and after the days of Jesus. It is mentioned many times in the Bible. However, there is no reference to Jesus visiting the city. Our guide said that Jesus would have known about this city and would have walked right past it on the road to Jerusalem from Capernaum.This very tall hill is the tell beside the Roman city. In ancient civilizations, new towns were always built on top of the ruins of an old town because there was no way to remove the debris and also because of the importance of water sources. As the civilizations rebuilt (one on top of the other), the tells would get higher but have a smaller area for its inhabitants on top. The Romans built their cities right beside the tells because they developed methods for getting the water from its source to the city. I wish the pictures showed how sophisticated and impressive this city was.

At the top of the tell you can just barely see something that looks like a tree (on the left hand side of the tell). This was where they filmed the crucifixion scene for the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. They constructed a tree and then left it there. Our guide enjoyed pointing it out and having all of us focus on it, only to then tell us it wasn't something from ancient times but from a movie.

The next two pictures are of the public lavatory. It was a big open room with no evidence of any kind of privacy between the facilities. There is no indication there were separate areas for men and women either. If you notice the brick-like stones all along the outer wall (with gaps in between them), those were what you would sit your legs on and there would be running water underneath. Hopefully I am not being too graphic, but I found this pretty fascinating as I had no idea they were so advanced. I know people who are still living who didn't have running water early in their life. I had no idea that there were ancient Roman cities with running water and sewage systems.

This is the street that went right through the middle of the city.
The next two pictures are of the bath house. They had a very elaborate system for heating and producing steam in the bath houses. All Roman cities had them and they could always be located in the same area of every town/city. All Roman cities were built alike with the main buildings in the same locations so that any town you went to, you would know exactly where to go to find what you were looking for.

This is the stage of the theater. I am standing on it, which gives you a pretty good idea of how large it is.
These are original seats; not reconstructions.

This is an actual mosaic floor made from limestone.
This city was not conquered, it was destroyed by an earthquake and never rebuilt. While excavating the city, they found a skeleton of a man who must have run back into his home to get his money because the skeleton was found grasping gold coins. Our guide said that perhaps Allen could make a sermon out of that. And I said, "You could add more words, but that was a sermon in itself." He said that the city probably fell in an aftershock and people had already started to flee. When they excavated this site, everything you see was there but not all of it was standing, much of the city was in pieces. They had to dig up and number each item they unearthed and then reconstruct the city as it would have been. However, they left part of the site as it was after the earthquake to show how it had fallen.

I have about four times as many pictures as I have posted because I found this site to be so incredible. It was absolutely amazing. But I realize that some of my pictures would just look like more rocks to someone who has not stood there and seen it in person. So I tried to limit how many I posted.