Richard Nowitz

Unusual stillness pervades this scene of Beth-Shean, one of the most ambitious dig and restoration projects undertaken by the Antiquities Authority. The massive excavation of the best-preserved Roman-Byzantine city in Israel reflects the Authority’s expansion under Amir Drori.

Inhabited for 6,000 years, Beth-Shean, at the junction of the Jordan and Jezreel valleys, flourished in the second and third centuries C.E., when baths, colonnaded streets, fountains, theaters and temples were built. Today, the 8,000-seat ancient theater seen in the distance, now fully exposed and restored, is again the scene of theatrical events: Opera and theater groups play here to standing-room-only audiences.