Archaeologists have made the exceedingly rare find of a what they believe was once a Roman military headquarters in the area of Megiddo in northern Israel, offering a glimpse not only of life during the early years of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism but also the occupation of the Holy Land by Roman troops.
The Legio camp, located at Tel Megiddo, is situated in the place some Christians believe to be the site of the New Testament-prophesied Battle of Armageddon.
Excavation co-director Yotam Tepper told TheBlaze Tuesday by phone from the excavation site that his team made the find in a particularly fascinating location.
On the one side is Tel Megiddo, while in the other direction, a rare Christian inscription referring to “Jesus Christos” was uncovered in 2005 near the modern-day Megiddo prison.
Tepper said the new discovery is significant because no military headquarters have ever been found in the this part of the vast territories the Romans once ruled.
“It’s the first legion camp found in the Eastern side of the Roman Empire,” Tepper said.
The archaeologist who is conducting the study alongside researchers Jonathan David and Matthew Adams described the site as “a full-size base” measuring 300 meters by 500 meters (328 yards by 546 yards.)
The Times of Israel reported Tuesday that the Legio camp which was used during the second and third centuries A.D. was “the headquarters of the Sixth Legion Ferrata — the Ironclad — in the years following the Jewish Revolt, and would have helped keep order in the Galilee during the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132-135 C.E.”
The Bar Kokhva Revolt was a Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire.
Archaeologists, along with American and Israeli volunteers, this summer found roofing tiles, some embedded with military imprints, clay pipes, and drainage ditches. They believe they may also have discovered a large building at the center of the camp that may have served as the commander’s house.
The archaeologists believe that the ditches are evidence of the planning that went into the site’s construction and also offer a hint as to where the main roads of the camp believed to have served as many as 5,000 soldiers may have once been situated.
The dig is being conducted by the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project with the support of the Israel Antiquities Authority.