Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsArchaeologyMassive Roman Legion Camp Discovered at Mythical 'Armageddon'

Massive Roman Legion Camp Discovered at Mythical ‘Armageddon’

Roman Camp Armageddon
The 1,800-year-old camp housed more than 5,000 soldiers. Credit: Israeli Antiquities Authority

A massive Roman camp has been unearthed in Israel at Har Megiddo, the mythical Armageddon where in the New Testament the kings of the earth will wage war on the forces of God at the end of history.

Its Hebrew name was rendered as Harmagedon in Greek, leading to its present infamous moniker.

The 1,800-year-old camp housed more than 5,000 soldiers from the Sixth Ironclad Legion and lies at the foot of Tel Megiddo in northern Israel.

Now it seems the ominous site has form for hosting large armies, having once held the biggest Roman army base ever found in Israel. It’s the only permanent Roman Legion camp ever to be found anywhere in the Levant, though others are believed to have existed.

Archaeologists have identified all the components of the camp – including the commanders’ headquarters, the temple, a clinic, roads, even the requisite ludus (a training amphitheater that had blood-red walls). And a cemetery, next to the amphitheater.

The camp was so large that only a fraction of it has been excavated, after mapping with ground-penetrating radar to identify the best spots to dig.

Roman Camp at ‘Armageddon’ measures 550 meters by 350 meters

Yotam Tepper, who directed the excavation for Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said it served the legion for nearly two centuries.

“The camp was the permanent military base for over 5,000 Roman soldiers for more than 180 years, from 117-120 to about 300 AD. Two main roads intersected at the center of the camp and its headquarters were erected here.

“It was from this point, that all the distances along the Roman Imperial roads to the main cities in the north of the country were measured and marked with milestones.”

Measuring 550 meters by 350 metres, it was in a class of its own.

“Whilst Roman military camps are known in Israel, they are temporary siege camps, or small camps belonging to auxiliary divisions,” Tepper said.

“None compares with the entire complex of the legionary base, as has been uncovered in the archaeological excavations at Legio, next to the Megiddo Junction.”

The base was unearthed during an infrastructure project to expand and upgrade a nearby road by the Netivei Israel National Infrastructure Company.

Among the discoveries within the camp are the remains of a large, monumental public building, a podium, and the main road of the camp – the Via Pretoria.

However, the buildings are not preserved to their full height, with the stones being repurposed by other builders during the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.

Archaeologists also found coins, parts of weapons, pottery sherds, glass fragments, and lots of roof tiles – some marked with the legion’s brand.

Related: Images Reveal 400 Roman Empire Forts in the Middle East

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts