Courtesy of Eilat Mazar

NOT THE RIGHT LEGION. This brick from the Tenth Legion Fretensis was found at the foot of the Temple Mount where the army was stationed. Similar Roman roof tiles with the stamps of both the Sixth Legion Ferrata (“Ironclad”) and the Second Legion Traiana (“of Trajan”) were found at the Megiddo church site. They were made from clay, indicating that the tiles were produced locally. The Israel Antiquities Authority, at the direction of the director Shuka Dorfman, refused to give BAR a picture of the roof tiles found at the Megiddo Prison—or any pictures for this article—although they had already been published.

The fact that the Sixth Legion was stationed near Megiddo (Roman name: Caporcotani) is well documented in historical sources such as the second-century A.D. Tabula Peutingeriana and Eusebius’s Onomasticon. The military base was known well enough in ancient times that the entire region became known as Legio. More than 5,000 legionaries would have been stationed there, and historical Roman evidence places the Sixth Legion in the region from the time of the Second Jewish Revolt (132–135 A.D).