SACRED SPACE. This area, across the decumanus from the forum, was home to several of Sussita’s religious structures over many centuries. Shown here is the area from the Hellenistic period (late second century B.C.E.), when it served as a temenos, or religious compound. The surviving column bases, column drums and elegantly carved Corinthian capitals (believed to be the earliest ever found in Israel) testify to the area’s past grandeur. The Hellenistic temple here was made of limestone and was likely destroyed in 83 B.C.E., when the Hasmonean ruler Alexander Jannaeus conquered the city. A smaller temple, made of basalt, was erected on the site during the Roman period, probably at the end of the first century B.C.E. or early C.E. Atop the ruins of that temple, in the late-fifth or early-sixth century C.E., rose a Byzantine-era church that used many of the building stones of its predecessors.