Uncovering a lost Israel

Waves smash into breakers protecting the

Insert a shovel anywhere within Israel, and you’ll find a trace of one, if not each, of its past reigning civilizations. Or just visit Caesarea, on the Mediterranean Sea, north of Tel Aviv.

Herod, the king of Judea — yes, that Herod — built the city about 25 years before Jesus was born in the area. Designed as an appeasement to Rome and a show of its power, Herod constructed the first man-made port in history.

“It was an artificial harbor in an open sea,” exclaims Jacob Sharvit, marine archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, whose excitement for the site is still palpable. “They understood everything about the wind, the currents. If we were building it today, we’d use different materials, but do it the same way.”

Visitors don wetsuits and, with a water-proof map, explore the ruins — the original breakwater, a Roman shipwreck, Byzantine anchors — in an underwater museum. There’s much to see on land as well, including an amphitheater, hippodrome and bathhouse and the foundation of an imposing palace that once jutted into the crashing Mediterranean waves.

After Herod’s death, the city became the local Roman capital (Pontius Pilate was prefect) until the year 640, when it was taken by Arabs, who ruled until the Crusaders came in 1101. The Crusaders occupied the city on and off until it was taken by the Mamluks in 1261, who left it in ruins. Bosnian Muslim refugees moved there in 1878, later fleeing during the war of 1948. Each community left its signature in city walls, repaired breakwaters and houses of worship.

And that’s just Caesarea proper. Adjacent to the city’s north side are remains of a Phoenician settlement predating Herod. And nearby — 100 meters off shore and 11 to 12 below sea level — marine archaeologists are uncovering a 10,000- to 11,000-year-old Neolithic settlement. Sharvit explains that the work is brand new and has not been published yet, adding with enthusiasm, “It’s like a puzzle: you find pieces, and try to understand the whole picture. I love working in the sea.”

Archaeological must-sees

Beit She’arim: Inside hollowed-out limestone caves are hundreds of beautifully carved and inscribed sarcophagi that once held the remains of the 2,200- to 2,400-year-old rich and famous.

Masada: In the year 70, about 1,000 fleeing Jews took refuge in a palace in the sky, an abandoned settlement atop a high and isolated desert mesa. Romans soldiers built a ramp to reach them — the Jews killed one another and themselves rather than surrender.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel: Almost 2,800 years ago, to stop invading armies from cutting off Jerusalem’s water supply, workers carved a tunnel to siphon the Gihon Spring’s water under the city walls. You can walk its dark, narrow and still-gushing path.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…