Beit She’an’s location has often been strategically significant, as it sits at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley, essentially controlling access from the interior to the coast, as well as from Jerusalem to the Galilee. Its name is believed to derive from the early Canaanite “house of tranquility”.
In the late Canaanite period (16th-12th centuries B.C.), the city became the seat of Egyptian rule. The Israelite tribes did not succeed in conquering Canaanite Bet Shean. After the battle waged at Mt. Gilboa, the Philistine lords of Beit She’an displayed the bodies of Saul and his sons on the city walls. The city was later taken by king David along with Megiddo and Ta’anach, becoming the administrative center of the region during King Solomon’s reign.
The Egyptian Governor’s house
The Egyptian house was built of clay bricks.
An Egyptian Ushabtis
The site was destroyed in 732 B.C. , with the conquest of the northern part of the country by the Assyrian King, Tiglat-Pilesser III.
During the Hellenistic period, the city known as Nysa-Scythopolis was founded on his spot. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the city fell to the Hashmoneans. Its gentile residents were exiled, and the city’s population became predominantly Jewish.
An Hellenistic Figurine
In 64 BCE it was taken by the Romans, rebuilt, and made the capital of the Decapolis, the “Ten Cities” of Samaria that were centers of Greco-Roman culture, an event so significant that it based its calendar on that year.
The Roman-Byzantine period
A Roman Denarius
A Roman Oil-Lamp
Byzantine / Western Bathhouse
The Byzantine bathhouse contains hot and tepid bathing halls with a heating system.
A Byzantine Weight
Main Street 1 – “Palladius Street”
150 meters long colonnaded street crossed the city from the slopes of the Tel to the theater. Originally built during the Roman period, the street was renovated at the beginning of the Byzantine period.
A dedicatory inscription from the 4th century A.D. found in the portico mosaic, recounts the construction of the portico in the days of Palladius, governor of the province.
A semicircular concourse of the Byzantine period, surrounded by rooms opening onto it. Several of the rooms were paved with colored mosaics.
This mosaic of Tych is a copy, the original was stolen.
The Roman Temple
The roman Temple & Nymphaeum
Main Street 2 – Silvanus Street
The Valley Street
The Street was paved during the Roman period leading from the center of the city across the Harod River via a triple vaulted bridge to the northeast city gate.
The Valley street
The “Truncated Bridge”
Agrippa I – Prutah
The Eastern / Roman Bathhouse
The compund of the 1st-2nd centuries A.D. comprise a temple, altars and Nymphaeum.
Amphitheater and Hippodrome