The largest archaeological site on the east bank of the Sea of Galilee was once a thriving city of the Decapolis

Most stories in BAR are about sites that have been excavated. In fact, I can’t recall a single story about a place that hadn’t been extensively excavated. This story—about Sussita/Hippos, in the Galilee—may be a first.

Of course, a scholar must be very careful when writing in BAR. One little slip and someone will take him to task in a blasting letter to the editor that will be read around the world. So let me say at the outset, to qualify my opening statement, that the Israel Antiquities Authority did conduct a small salvage excavation at the site between 1951 and 1955 led by Claire Epstein. Much of the detailed information in this article comes from that excavation. Otherwise a spade has never touched the site, although in the latter half of the 19th century Gottlieb Schumacher made a thorough survey of the site, and the surface was again explored by the members of nearby Kibbutz Ein Gev in the late 1930s. The aerial photographs from the 1930s were a great help in reconstructing the plan of the city. And of course I also walked the site in connection with this article.

You might understandably ask- Why write an article about a site that has seen so little archaeological activity? The answer is manifold.

Read the rest of Sussita Awaits the Spade in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.