Roman Theater Discovered at Hippos (Sussita)
Surprisingly, the theater is situated outside the city walls and appears to have formed part of a large sanctuary.
The University of Haifa's excavations at the Hippos (Sussita) site have uncovered the location of a large Roman theater. However, the theater's location outside the city walls supports the hypothesis that the facility was used mainly for religious ceremonies rather than shows for the masses. Hippos Excavations Project head, Dr. Michael Eisenberg revealed the new findings at the annual research conference of the Zinman Institute of Archeology at the university. "The excavations outside the city over the past few years are falling into place like in a detective story," he remarks. "First we found the mask of Pan, then the monumental gate leading to what we began to assume was a large public compound - a sanctuary. And now, this year, we find a public bathhouse and theater in the same location, both facilities that in the Roman period could be associated with the god of medicine Asclepius or with gods of nature such as Dionysus and Pan."
Hippos overlooks the Sea of Galilee from a prominent hill some two kilometers to the east, and is situated within the area of Sussita National Park, operated by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. In the Roman period, Hippos was an important city in the Golan and the area to the east of the Sea of Galilee.