New results from GPR at Legio: A Roman legionary base in the Jezreel Valley, Israel

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Legio is the base of the Roman II Triana and the VI Ferrata Legion, occupied from the early 2nd century to the early 4th century CE. It is the first of its kind to be excavated in the Eastern Roman Empire. Today the site sprawls beneath 30 hectares of pasture with slopes up to 15 degrees. Rapid, dense ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey with an antenna array would be ideal, but so far logistically impractical. The survey has proceeded since 2013 with a single 400 MHz antenna using parallel transects 0.5m apart for 5.85 ha to date. Like most Roman bases, Legio includes an extensive network of buildings and streets enclosed by rectangular fortifications. Unlike most Roman bases, however, it was constructed on a hillside with architectural components built by a combination of bedrock incision and above-ground construction. In addition, much of the site’s stonework has been robbed. These aspects demand topographic correction and interpretation using reflection profiles, depth slices, and 3D models. This paper presents data processing and results for the principia (central headquarters). Previous investigations were conducted at Legio and surrounding area by Tel Aviv University from 1998 to 2010. GPR and excavations since 2013 have been conducted as part of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP)in association with the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.