Roman Theater - Tiberias Israel
...the theater revealed...

Photos 2006-2009
by Bob Joki, Saratoga Springs NY USA

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The photos which follow were taken on my various visits & digs at Tiberias between Spring 2006 and Fall 2009. While we were working there this past Fall I was asked a few times what the area was like before the Antiquities Authority started their excavations. The question came up again recently when the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology published a birdseye photo and brief text about the work. Anyone looking for more specific info can look up the IAA website and learn a great deal about what has been found to date. All of us who have been here over the years are particularly excited to see what the IAA has found.

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First Glimpse of the Site - Spring 2006

My first visit was during a day trip from Jerusalem in the spring of 2006. At the site I met Shulamit who gave an explanation of the area and encouraged me to return as a volunteer. While I didn't go much beyond the basilica/bathhouse excavations I did take the following photos which show the area where the Theater is buried along the hillside.




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Exploring the Site - Fall 2006

The spring trip was followed by a 2 week stay as a volunteer during the Fall, 2006. Since I was camping at the site I spent my free afternoons wandering the hills above our excavations. Here you'll recognize the road up the hill and at the leveled turn there were a few beehives (the theater is directly below these views). The horse was likley one of a number which freely roamed the hills and would occasionally visit our excavation site (and tents) in the evening. Beyond the photos, farther up the hill, the rock cut was essentially a huge dumping ground where countless loads of constuction debris, old auto parts, junk metal and appliances, concrete, etc. was tossed. Unfortunately, even though I walked beyond and above I never took any photos of the mess. I wish I had so as to show the remarkable change taking place. Also seen here are the few stone ashlars which at the time were the sole visible evidence that this was the site of an ancient building.











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A Summer Visit - July 2007

I took a day trip to Tiberias in the summer of '07 and met Kasa on my walk to the old city. Kasa, who had been site caretaker during our Fall '06 excavations, accompanied me on walks throughout the area. We climbed the hills and took a couple photos "upon" the theater before we headed to the lake to swim & cool off.



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Back Again at the Dig - Spring 2008

Spring 2008 I returned to camp at Tiberias for 4 weeks as a volunteer. The hill above is much like it had been for ages and still not ready to reveal its treasure. In a few months everything would begin to change. As you look at my photos also notice the change in color & ground cover. Contrast the Fall/Summer photos with the Spring. Wild flowers and green grasses only briefly survive. Their season is short. The heat and lack of rain becomes unbearable. Green gives way to brown. Look closely at the 3 photos below and you can see the change in foliage taking place while we were there.




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Work begins to uncover the Site - Summer 2008

Summer '08 came and I was anxious to see Tiberias again. I knew work had began on the park so my wife and I bussed up from Jerusalem. Our excavation campsite was partially dismantled and already clean-up work was going on around the Theater. All that junk and debris plus rock & rubble from the decades of quarrying was beginning to disappear. Note in my next photo the lone standing granite column - could well be the one shown here.





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An Abbasid Neighborhood and more uncovered inside the Theater - Spring 2009

Again I'm back for the dig season - camping for the 3 weeks. Work is well under way and an Abbasid neighborhood is found sitting on top of the Roman Theater. It is in the midst of being carefully dismantled,photographed and cataloged. Parts of the theater begin to take shape inc. sections of interior passages and the IAA is beginning to understand it's phases of construction.

































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The Roman Theater - Fall 2009

All of us were excited when we returned for our 4 week Fall dig. Although busy with our own tasks we anxiously anticipated our tour up the hill. We could see work going on every day and finally the opportunity came .....incredible! Enjoy the pictures and be sure to visit the IAA site for explanatory info.
















































Go to Fall 2009 Tiberias Home Page.

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