Ground-penetrating Radar and Electromagnetic Archaeogeophysical Investigations at the Roman Legionary Camp at Legio, Israel



Historical sources indicate that the Roman Sixth Legion Ferrata established a permanent camp in the Jezreel Valley (Israel) in the vicinity of the archaeological site currently known as Legio (el-Lajjun) near a historical Roman road junction to the south of Tel Megiddo. While archaeological surveys have demonstrated that indeed there was a strong Roman presence at the site, the precise location of the legionary camp has not been demonstrated conclusively. One of the authors (Tepper) has made a topographical and archaeological argument that the low hill, known locally as el-Manach, on the eastern edge of the site is, indeed, the location of the camp. To test this hypothesis, we conducted ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic (EM) archaeogeophysical surveys at the site. In particular, we studied the hypothetical northern corner of the camp in an effort to confirm the presence of archaeological features consistent with Roman military construction. Data from both studies were combined and compared with evidence proffered by Tepper's historical and geographical research. This study provides strong evidence for architectural remains on the hill of el-Manach, and concludes that it is highly likely that such remains relate to the Roman camp of the Sixth Legion. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.