Gate to headquarters of the Sixth Legion discovered in Jerusalem

Archaeologists in Jerusalem, Israel, have unearthed a large portion of the gate leading to the headquarters of the Sixth Legion, one of two legions that stationed in Judea after the First Jewish Revolt.

Excavations at the site (by Yotam Tepper)

Archaeologist of Haifa University and the Israel Antiquities Authority state that part of the gate to the principia (headquarters) have been unearthed during the 2017 summer excavation season, together with partial inscriptions containing names that imply the gate could be part of a dedication or it could list the names of the legion’s commanders or war heroes. The structure measures 100 by 100 metres and served as the military command headquarters for the legion, and a shrine housing the legion’s sacred eagle. Previous finds in 2015 allowed to establish that the site was home to the Sixth Legion, called Ferrata, or “Ironclad”. This particular Legion was first recruited by Julius Caesar in 52 BC. It served throughout the Gallic Wars, fought during the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Later it was transferred to Syria by Gaius Octavius Augustus and was moved  around the continent during next century. Since 132 AD it was based in Judea, present Israel, when another Jewish uprising, the Bar-Kokhba Revolt took place. In 306 AD it was stationed in Jordan and by 400 AD it was no longer listed in the Roman military rolls, meaning it was either destroyed or disbanded.

Cooking pot found at the site (by Yotam Tepper)

Since 2013, archaeologists have uncovered streets, garrisons, sewer pipes and the outlines of the large permanent base at the site. During this year’s summer season, the archaeologists led by Yotam Tepper have also discovered the latrine of the command centre, and found 200 coins underneath the privy. Moreover, they found a small cave containing the cremated remains of a soldier in a cooking pot, a common burial practice for the soldiers.

(after Yotam Tepper & Smithsonian)

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