Gabi Laron/Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University

The Roman temple. A cluster of four important public buildings stood at the base of the tell during the Roman period (63 B.C. to 324 A.D.), including this large temple. To reach it, worshippers traversed a plaza paved with well-polished flagstones (center, right) before mounting four broad white limestone steps (center) to reach a platform that supported a more-than-65-foot-wide colonnaded gateway facade (called a prostyle) that faced the temple. Four columns more than 30 feet high—each cut from a single piece of limestone—stood on 4-foot-high pedestals in the prostyle. The pedestals still remain in place at the top of the stairway, seen in the center of the picture. Remains of the four monolithic columns, which measured 4 feet in diameter, can be seen at lower left. Beyond the column pedestals (to the left), six steps led the worshippers to the temple proper (upper left), which stood on a platform partially supported by barrel vaults of basalt blocks cemented with reddish mortar.

With the establishment of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire at the beginning of the fourth century A.D., this temple was destroyed. The excavators have found the remains of the temple’s semicircular inner shrine, but the back of the temple has yet to be uncovered.