Ancient Roman city discovered in Beit Ras
January 13, 2002
AMMAN (Petra) — The Department of Antiquities (DoA) on Sunday reported the discovery of an entire ancient Roman city in Beit Ras in the northern Irbid Governorate.
Announcing the significant find, DoA Director General Fawaz Khreishah said archaeologists digging in the area had unearthed 20 per cent of a Roman amphitheatre dating back to between the second and third centuries AD, which indicated the presence of a city surrounding it.
Work to excavate the rest of the city is proceeding as planned and could take up to three years to complete, according to Khreishah.
He said until excavation work on the site started last year nothing was known about the city, nor was it mentioned in old records written by travellers, usually used as sources to locate ancient sites.
Khreishah described the find as one of the most important discoveries by the department in years.
Referring to other recent finds, the official said churches were found by excavators at Um Quttain dating to the fourth and fifth centuries AD, and buildings at Al Jaloul near Madaba dating back to the early Islamic era of the 14th century AD.
According to Khreishah, the department last year conducted excavations on 58 sites around the country in Zarqa, Karak Shobak, Petra and Madaba, and carried out restoration work on 64 other sites in collaboration with French, American, Italian and Australian archaeological teams.
The various digs, he added, necessitated the employment of 2,800 local workers for about six months.
At present the department is involved in restoration works on ancient sites in the Mafraq, Jerash and Irbid areas, financed by the Ministry of Planning.