Storm Endangers Caesarea’s Ruins

Archaeologists fear that the ancient port of Caesarea, which attests to Herod’s architectural genius, will be washed due a series of storms, and gale force winds.

Ruins of Caesarea in danger of falling into the sea

Adrian Blomfield
Israeli archaeologists declared a “national disaster” after gale-force winds that battered the coast over the weekend destroyed breakwaters protecting the remains of the city, which was built by Herod the Great shortly before the birth of Christ.
“The damage is tremendous and dramatic,” said Shuka Dorfman, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority after touring the site. “With the collapse of the breakwater, the antique treasures in the Caesarea National Park are exposed to harm from the Ocean.”
While Roman and crusader fortifications were damaged in the gale, it is the loss of the modern breakwater that has archaeologists most worried.
The barrier affords Caesarea, fragile because of erosion and a lack of natural sand, crucial protection from the waves. Officials warned that further heavy rain could easily cause the excavations to slide into the Mediterranean.
“It is a matter of time until it all collapses,” said Zeev Margalit, the head of preservation at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. “If Israel does not react immediately then a major international heritage site will be lost.” [more]


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