Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Aqueduct at Caesarea

This jet-lag will kill me. I finally fell asleep around 4am this morning, and woke up at 1pm. I don't remember when I last slept so long or late. Clearly it was too late to go on a serious archaeological adventure, so I managed to convince the wife that she wanted to come with to check out the aqueduct at Caesarea. The park with the ancient city closes early in winter, but I was interested in checking out the aqueduct anyway. It runs along the public beach to the north of the old city.

The original aqueduct was built by Herod (37 BCE - 4 CE) when Caesarea was founded during the reign of the Emperor Augustus (I will visit Caesarea itself one of these days and cover it's history). Originally the aqueduct was built around a single canal and brought water to the city from about 10km to the northeast (A section is visible east of route 2, at Jizer-e-zarka). Around the second century CE, the Legions of the Emperor Hadrian added a second channel to bring water from further (Nahal Tanninim). This section included a 6km tunnel and was added to the original.

During the Byzantine period another, lower aqueduct was built, about 100m to the east, as the older structure fell into disrepair. This aqueduct was lower and brought water to the now smaller city of Caesarea from the springs at Maagan Michael.
This is what the aqueduct looks like from the beach. It's awesome. The sea has washed away the remains as the structure nears the old city, but the section on the beach is clearly visible (sometimes covered with sand) for kilometers.
This is the side of the newer (second) channel that was added by Hardian's people. As you can see the architecture is the same from both sides. Those Roman's sure could build.
This is a plaque that the Roman soldiers who repaired the aqueduct fixed to the walls. The writing on this plaque has been completely eroded, but there are those that mention Hadrian by name.
This is the newer (Byzantine), lower aqueduct. This picture is taken from the top of the older structure. It's not in as good condition as the Roman one.
This is what one of the water channel on top of the aqueduct looks like. At places the Roman's used ceramic piping.

After a long walk along the beach and climb up the aqueduct, the wife and I found some shelter under one of the arches and used the gazia to make some coffee and watch the sun set into the sea. It was all quite lovely. Thanks Romans.


Steve said...

Other than the aquaduct, what have the Romans done for us?

mart said...

lol Steve. While reading the post, that was my exact thoughts for a comment.

blackpetero said...

Reg: They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, not just from us, from our fathers and from our fathers' fathers.
Stan: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: Yes.
Stan: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: All right, Stan. Don't labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return? (he pauses smugly)
Xerxes: The aqueduct?
Reg: What?
Xerxes: The aqueduct.
Reg: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true.
Masked Commando: And the sanitation!
Stan: Oh yes ... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like.
Reg: All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done ...
Matthias: And the roads ...
Reg: (sharply) Well yes obviously the roads ... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads ...
Another Masked Commando: Irrigation ...
Other Masked Voices: Medicine ... Education ... Health
Reg: Yes ... all right, fair enough ...
Commando Nearer The Front: And the wine ...
General Audience: Oh yes! True!
Francis: Yeah. That's something we'd really miss if the Romans left, Reg.
Masked Commando At Back: Public baths!
Stan: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now.
Francis: Yes, they certainly know how to keep order ... (general nodding) ... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this. (more general murmurs of agreement)
Reg: All right ... all right ... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order ... what have the Romans done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace!
Reg: (very angry, he's not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh ... (scornfully) Peace, yes ... shut up!
[From MontyPython's LifeOfBrian]

These guys were god

mart said...

I went on a trip to Rosh Hanikra last thursday. Somewhere between Acre and Nahariya (or maybe it was between Nahariya and Rosh Hanikra there are some really tall remnants of a long aqueduct. Pretty amazing.

Tho ancient fort and port of Acre are also unbelievable. The walls are still standing after thousands of years of the sea pounding against them. They just don't build like that anymore.

blackpetero said...

Funny you should say that. I was listening to the radio on my way back from class this morning and it seems that due to the heavy rains Kadesh Barneah in the negev is cut off completely from the rest of Israel. The head of the moshav said that the only structures standing were the bridges built by the Turks in the Ottoman period. All the modern bridges built by Maatz (the road people) were washed away. They certainly did a better job back then when labour was cheap.