Beit Shean

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Beit Shean
Beit Shean
Mammoth tell at Beit Shean rising above the remains of Roman period Scythopolis
After the Egyptian conquest of Beit Shean
by pharaoh Thutmose III in the 15thcentury, the small town on the summit of
the tell became the center of the Egyptian
administration of the region.
Reconstructed remains of Egyptian temple atop tell
During the three hundred years of
Egyptian rule, the population of Beit Shean
appears to have been primarily Egyptian
administrative officials and military
personnel.
During the 20th Egyptian dynasty,
invasions of the “Sea-Peoples” upset
Egypt’s control over the Eastern
Mediterranean.
Though the exact circumstances are
unclear, the entire site of Beit Shean was
destroyed by fire around 1150 BC.
A Canaanite city was constructed on the
site of the Egyptian center shortly after its
destruction.
This period is not well understood due to
the dearth of archaeological material, but it
appears to be a purely Canaanite
settlement.
However, textual evidence from 1 Samuel
31 states that the Philistines were present
at the site and hung the body of King Saul
on the walls of Beit Shean after he died on
nearby Mount Gilboa.
…when the Philistines
came to strip the dead,
they found Saul and his
three sons fallen on
Mount Gilboa…
…They cut off his head
and stripped him of his
armor…they put his
armor in the temple of the
Ashtoreths and fastened
his body to the wall of Beth
Shan. (1 Samuel 31:8-10)
Pompey and the Romans
rebuilt Beth Shean in 63 BC
and it was renamed
Scythopolis (“city of the
Scythians”).
It became the capital city of the
Decapolis and was the only
one on the west side of the
Jordan River.
Local Greek mythology holds
that Scythopolis was founded
by Dionysus, the god of wine.
Theater
Cardo (Palladius street)
Bathouse
Roman thermae (hot room) in the bathhouse
Bathhouse Latrine
The city continued to grow
and prosper in the Roman and
Byzantine periods until it was
destroyed by an earthquake
on January 18, 749 AD.
Evidence of the earthquake: massive columns
of a temple that toppled in the same direction.
“May
the Blues be
victorious”
The “Blues” were one of four competing
chariot racing teams: blue, red, white and
green.
Each team could have up to three chariots
each in a race.
Members of the same team often
collaborated with each other against other
teams.
Drivers could switch teams, much like
athletes can be traded to different teams
today.
Hippodrome
Mount Gilboa
Mount Gilboa

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