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Amphitheater Elite Box

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Amphitheater Elite Box
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Photo Comments

View from the southeast looking across the area of the small Amphitheater at Bet Guvrin.  Above the arched doorway, the recessed area is where there was special seating (called "a tribune") for the elite (governor?) of Beth Guvrin.

Note the height of the wall around the arena that protects the spectators.  Also, note the entrance/exit from the barrel-vaulted passage (ambulacrum).  Most of the stones of the upper seating area were been taken away and recycled—in ancient times.  The two column stubs are meager remnants of many that supported a roof that shaded the shops—during the Byzantine Period, when the structure was no longer used as an amphitheater.

The amphitheater was constructed in the second century AD when Roman troops were settled in this area—after the Bar Kochba Revolt (AD 132–135). It measures 233 x 185 ft. and could seat 3,500.  It was used for gladiatorial and animal fights, as a training ground and or as a parade area.  After the earthquake of AD 363, it was turned into a market place with stalls ringing the arena and in the Ambulacrum.  It was excavated by Amos Kloner in the 1990s.