The Israel Antiquities Authority announced plans to renovate the Tel Ashkelon National Park so that a recently excavated 2000-year-old Roman basilica can open it to the public. The basilica, the largest of it’s kind yet discovered in Israel, was originally discovered in the 1920’s and fully excavated from 2008-2012 and 2016-2018. The structure was built during the reign of Herod the Great; Josephus records some of Herod’s building projects at Ashkelon, including a bathhouse, fountains, and colonnaded halls. The basilica was later renovated during the second and third centuries, before it was destroyed by an earth quake in AD 363. While Ashkelon is best-known in Scripture as one of the five Philistine cities, in the first century it was an important seaport near Judea.
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