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Lecture: Treasures of Caesarea Maritima, Israel—A Roman Port City of King Herod the Great

September 17, 2015
Fullerton Hall
Free with museum admission

This year's J. William Holland Memorial Lecture is given by John Hale, Director of the Liberal Studies Program and Professor, University of Louisville.

Caesarea Maritima, an extraordinary double harbor on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, was constructed by Roman concrete engineers during the reign of Caesar Augustus for his friend King Herod the Great of Judea. The remains of the Roman seawalls and jetties are matched by other spectacular Roman monuments on the shore—aqueducts, a theatre, two racetracks, the foundations of a Roman temple, the palace built for King Herod overlooking the sea—as well as extraordinary additions and fortifications of Byzantines, Arabs, and Crusaders on the same spot.
This past spring, divers found a huge hoard of Fatimid Egyptian gold coins in the harbor, which had lain hidden for over 1,000 years. Earlier this month, Professor Hale was part of the team that was searching for the shipwreck that had carried those coins from Egypt to Caesarea, a team that was able to identify both anchors and iron spikes from that historic wreck.
The story of Caesarea is both fascinating and important—one of the big Jewish Revolts was ignited at Caesarea, in a fight between young Jews and Romans—and 25 years of intense archaeological exploration, both on land and under the sea, have yielded a treasure trove of artifacts and information.

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Fatimid Egyptian gold coin from 11th century shipwreck at Caesarea, Israel. Photo by John R. Hale, 2015.