Jan 11, 2020

Livias discovery (Tall el-Hammam) and Excavation videos

Tall el-Hammam with inset of Livia (upper left arrow Roman
 area and hot spring, middle lower arrow another hot spring)
Spouted Roman jar 2014
A video from Livias that was recorded a few years ago (before my beard ;-) in January 2011 that interviews Dr. Scott Stripling and myself (field supervisors of the Roman area) on the discovery of our Roman bath complex (35X40 m.) and Roman aqueduct. We excavated the Roman bath complex from 2007-2014 (Seasons 3-10). Dr. Scott Stripling is featured in the first video, but was excavating in Israel (Khirbet el-Maqatir & Shiloh) and not with us from 2012-2014.

Roman pottery hoard

Dr. Graves clarifying a ceramic jar
Livias was the leading city in the region (τοπαρχίαις toparchiais) of Perea (Transjordan; Josephus B.J. 2.252), on the road linking Esbus (Hesban) with Jericho and Jerusalem (Eusebius On. 12). The prominence of Livias is illustrated by Eusebius who frequently used it as a referent for his geography (On. 12; 16; 44, 48; 168). Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist, resided here while he was also busy building Tiberias as his Galilean capital (Josephus A.J. 18.36), having already built a wall around Sepphoris (Josephus A.J. 18.27).  Here are two videos where I describe our work from 2011.

One correction in the first video from the narration where I say Justin the Iberian and it should be Peter the Iberian. Also, the date of the earthquake is January 18, 749 which destroyed many of the cities in the Jordan Valley including Tiberias, Beit She'an, Hippos and Pella. Livias was also destroyed at this time and indications are that it was not rebuilt. 

Links to some of the discoveries (2007-2014)


[1] While Herod Antipas was rebuilding Livias in Perea, he was busy building Tiberias as his Galilean capital (Josephus A.J.  18.36), having already built a wall around Sepphoris (Josephus A.J.18.27).


  • Graves, David E. and D. Scott Stripling. “Locating Tall El-Hammam on the Madaba Map.Biblical Research Bulletin 7, no. 6 (2007): 1–11.
  • Collins, Steven, Khalil Hamdan, Gary A. Byers and David E. Graves. “The Tall El-Hammam Excavation Project Season Activity Report: Season Four: 2009 Excavation, Exploration, & Survey.” Biblical Research Bulletin 9, no. 1 (2009): 1–30.
  • Graves, David E. , “Re-Examination of the Location for the Ancient City of Livias,” Levant 43, no. 2 (2011): 178–200.
  • ———. “Identification of Tall El-Hammam on the Madaba Map.” Bible and Spade 20, no. 2 (2007): 35–45. See Madaba Map article
  • ———. “Is Tall El-Hammam on the Madaba Map?” In Near East Archaeological Society, 1–20. San Diego: Near East Archaeological Society, 2007.
  • Graves, David E. “Livias (Tall el-Ḥammâm),”  in The Archaeology of the New Testament: 75 Discoveries That Support the Reliability of the Bible (Moncton, NB: Electronic Christian Media, 2019), 80-81. 
  • Graves, David E. “Livias,” in  Cities of the New Testament World: An Historical Geography of the Bible in the Steps of Jesus and the Apostles (Moncton, NB: Electronic Christian Media, forthcoming), 215-234.
  • Collins, Steven, Carroll M. Kobs, and Michael C. Luddeni. An Introduction to Tall Al-Hammam with Seven Seasons (2005–2011) of Ceramics and Eight Seasons (2005–2012) of Artifacts. Vol. 1. (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015). Some samples of the Roman pottery from 2007-2012 are published here: Roman Glass, pp. 334-335; Byzantine oil lamps (special obj. 437, 578; “Eulogea oil lamp with Greek inscription “Jesus light shines for all” AD 500), p. 342; Tessara (obj. 314, 423, 338, 430, 449), p. 342; A total of nine Roman/Byzantine coins (obj. surface finds 349, 353, 411, 425, 248, in-situ; Late Roman coins obj. 413, 438, 439, 464), p. 321.
  • Collins, Steven, Khaled Hamdan, & Gary A. Byers. “Tall el-Hammam: Preliminary Report on Four Seasons of Excavation (2006–2009).” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ) 53 (2009): 385–414.
  • Collins, Steven, Aljarrah Hussein, Gary A. Byers, Carroll M. Kobs, John Leslie, Adeib abu-Shmais, Jehad Haroun, et al. “Tall Al-Hammam Season Six, 2011: Excavation, Survey, Interpretations and Insights.” Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan (ADAJ) 55 (2011): 581–607.

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