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April 25, 2019 10:56 am

Ancient Golan Heights Stone Marker Finally Deciphered

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The ancient milestone marker found in Moshav Ramot in 2018 has finally been deciphered. Photo: Sussita Excavations expedition, University of Haifa – A large stone artifact that once served as a decoration in the garden of a home in Moshav Ramot has been identified as a rare Roman-era milestone inscribed with the name of Roman emperor Maximinus Thrax, a commoner who briefly became leader of Rome 1,800 years ago.

The marker is one of three discovered in 2018 in the small agricultural town of Moshav Ramot in the Golan Heights. When they were created, the markers were erected approximately every mile along the nearly 1,000 miles of road the Romans laid down in Israel.

Upon discovery, Haifa University set about to decipher the Greek inscription chiseled into the item using state-of-the-art technology, but were unable to determine what it said. Ultimately, Dr. Gregor Stab from Cologne University was able to crack the riddle just last month, utilizing the simple, old-school method of paper rubbing.

Greek epigrapher Stab is a new member of an archaeological team engaged in a 20-year excavation of the Kinneret-region site of Sussita.

The new marker would have been placed somewhere between Sussita and the Golan.

Maximinus was born to an average Roman family around 173 C.E., and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army to lead the Italian Fourth Legion. He was elected emperor by the Praetorian Guard, an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors, in 235 C.E.

Just three years later, his troops deserted him while marching on Rome, and he and his son were executed by rebellious troops.

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