By Daniel Siryoti
Stone found underwater south of Haifa carries Greek inscription confirming that procurator of Judea before the Bar Kochba revolt was Gargilius Antiques • Stone is only the second Roman-era artifact that mentions Judea in an inscription, researchers say.
A unique Roman-era stone carrying a Greek inscription that was found underwater off the coast south of Haifa confirms that the Roman procurator who ruled Judea just before the Bar Kochba revolt (132-136 C.E.) was named Gargilius Antiques, University of Haifa archaeologists have announced.
The rectangular stone, 87 centimeters (34 inches) long and weighings more than 600 kilograms (1,300 pounds), was discovered by University of Haifa archaeologists in the waters at the Tel Dor archaeological site.
The two archaeologists in charge of the excavation, Professor Assaf Yasur-Landau and Dr. Gil Gambash, said in a statement that the find was unique on two levels.
“Not only does this confirm the identity of procurator who controlled Judea during the critical years before the Bar Kochba Revolt, it is also only the second Roman-era artifact to include the name Judea in an inscription,” they said in a joint statement.
Tel Dor is believed to be the coastal city of Dor mentioned in the Bible, which was populated until the fourth century C.E. The stone was discovered in January and was pulled out of the water following lengthy consultations on the proper way it should be handled.
While the name Gargilius Antiques was also found on an inscription uncovered more than 70 years ago, the portion of the inscription that indicated where he ruled was not preserved. Scholars debated whether Antiques was the procurator of Rome’s Syria province or of Judea. The finding of the stone has clarified that debate.