The site was discovered 10 years ago after a fire cleared away the brush and "dressed" stones were seen peaking out of the ground on the top of a hill. In the last ten years much has been exposed. You'll get a complete story of what has been found over the next few weeks! As well as details of my co-workers.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Ok, first a little history. When Octavian beat Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, he became the new ruler in the eastern Mediterranean and all the sub-rulers there had to act fast. Most convinced the now Augustus of their new loyalty and none better than Herod of Judea. He built a temple, an Augusteum, to his new best buddy in about 20BCE. Josephus wrote:
So when he had conducted Caesar to the sea, and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone, in Zenodorus's country, near the place called Panium. This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern is abrupt, and prodigiously deep, and full of a still water; over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the caverns arise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Caesar.
We are at Panium, the cave where the Greeks had a shrine to the god Pan, now called Banias. Or at least our site, where the Augusteum is being excavated, is 2 miles from the cave. And the kibbutz is a further 2 miles away. We went to visit this morning and are pretty much free now. The new arrivals have to recover from jet lag, though these kids seem pretty hardy...