A red battle arena that was part of a former military base that housed Rome’s famous “armoured” legion in the 2nd century, it was discovered by a team of Israeli archaeologists.
The finding has been made under the agricultural fields of Kibbutz Megiddo, also known as “Armageddon”place where the Bible indicates that the battle of the end of the world will begin.
The military fortification measures approximately 500 by 400 meters, it was built 1,800 years ago during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-123), and became home to over 5,000 soldiers in the Jezreel Valley, the first of the Legion II Traiana and after the dreaded Legion Ferrata VI (the Armored Legion).
This it is the only such large-scale legionary base ever found in the Eastern Roman Empire from the 2nd century AD
As archaeologists explain, this installation was clearly a ludus: a training ground for, in this case, soldiers to practice combat techniques.
Illustrative image of a Ludus.
Unlike many other similar places discovered, it was not a recreational or cultural amphitheater. It has caught the attention of experts because this massive military arena is set in a steep oval basin carved into the bedrock and surrounded by evocatively painted blood-red stone walls.
A work of several years
The first archaeological research in the area was carried out between 1998 and 2000. It led to the rediscovery of Legio and its subsequent excavations from 2010 to the present day, which revealed the perimeter of the military base, the headquarters and the structures surrounding.
The Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP) team at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem, with support from the Israel Antiquities Authority and funding from American Archeology Abroad, knew where the sites were located. interest hidden through mapping. Then they used a ground penetrating radar (GPR)for its acronym in English) to determine the confirmation of the structure.
Ground-penetrating radar located a necropolis and an amphitheater outside the base walls. However, about half of Legio remains to be mapped and excavated later.
Excavation work in the ancient Roman camp. Credit: Yotam Tepper.
ancient lost roman camp
The camp of the Imperial Legion of Legio was one of the two camps of the Eastern Roman Empire. The other was in Jerusalem: the Camp of the Legio X Fretensis. But the existence of this legion camp remains enigmatic, as history tells us that the terrifying legion was sent there to appease the restless inhabitants, yet no architectural trace of the base has ever been found.
Its ruins may lie beneath areas where archaeologists have not yet dared to dig.
You might also be interested in: Centurions: The soldiers responsible for military power in Rome.
Matthew J. AdamsLegio’s co-director of excavations and director of the Center for the Mediterranean World organization, said the team “found evidence of cultic activity at the site, including dozens of lamps, possibly related to the cult of Nemesis “. retribution and receive the just reward.
References: National Geographic/Live Science.
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