Haifa University’s archeological digs at the Susita site just east of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) has unearthed several artifacts, including what experts believe is a portrait of a local man from the 3rd century CE, carved into a basalt gravestone. Susita in the Aramaic was originally known by the Latin name Hippos. Both names refer to horses. It was destroyed by the earthquake of 749 CE. Susita was one of the towns known as the Decapolis, whose residents saw themselves as culturally Greek, as opposed to the surrounding communities, whose inhabitants were Jewish, Phoenician and Nabatean.
Gravestone or carving of man
Site Where Carving Found
Archeologist Dr. Michael Eisenberg explained that the “Susita man” rock was found in the course of a pre-season dig at the site of a small fortress guarding the main entrance to the road that led up to Susita. Eisenberg believes that the carved rock was removed from its original location at a cemetery where it had served as a gravestone and was used to build the fortress. “This is a simple work of art by a folk artist that fits the late Roman period around the 3rd century CE.,” he stated. “The portrait of the first Susita resident in our hands and we hope to be able to decipher his name soon, too,” referring to the Greek letters that were engraved next to the portrait. Archeologists also found what was likely the town’s garbage dump, which will determine how the residents’ lived day-to-day lives and their diet.
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