Archaeological survey for the scientific documentation of the Roman-Byzantine town and garrison of a legion
Raphaneae is located between the modern villages of Baarin and Nisaf in a valley at the eastern foot of the Syrian coastal mountains (Jabal Ansariye), 36 km northwest of Emesa/Homs and 55 km south of Apamea/Afamia. In Antiquity, the town was situated at the crossing of two long-distance roads leading from Apamea to Tripolis and from Emesa/Homs across the coastal mountains to Arados/Tartus.
Historically, Raphaneae is first mentioned in Neronian times. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, the Legio III Gallica was garrisoned in the town. When, in May of 218 AD, Varius Avitus Bassianus was there proclaimed emperor M. Aurelius Antonius, surnamed Elagabal, the garrison of Raphaneae became well-known to the ancient world. According to the Res Gestae Divi Shapori the town was conquered and destroyed by the Sasanians in 253 AD. Although, in the course of a reorganization of the defence of the frontiers, the legion was removed, Raphaneae, as episcopal see in Late Antiquity, remained one of the important urban centres in middle Syria. During the Crusades Rafanea und the nearby Crusader castle Montferrand regained strategic importance as eastern border fortifications of the County of Tripoli.
As the archaeology of the site was completely unknown and as it was in acute danger from new buildings and from cultivation, a Syrian-German cooperative project was brought under way in 2005. In the course of the first project stage a surface survey was carried out in order to determine the extension of the settlement area and thus prepare the declaration as a protected site. The second project stage, which is under way since October 2006, provides detailed insights into the settlement structures of the sites by large scale Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) measurements.
The archaeological and topographical data collected in the field during the first project stage were further analyzed in the context of two theses http://w3-o.hm.edu/geo/sl/projekt/satnav/i_raphanea.html; they were brought together in a geo-information system (GIS) and thus made easily available for archaeological evaluation. As Raphaneae was erected on top of basaltic pebbles and due to the sheer size of the site, only Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) can be used for the geophysical surveys of the second project stage. The advantage of this method is that it produced three-dimensional data of a very high resolution.
There are two parts to the settlement area of Raphaneae. In the northeast, next to the strong spring of Naba at-Tannur, there lies a tall with an extensive lower town, that was settled up to Late Roman-Byzantine times, and, nearby, a Roman sanctuary destroyed by terracing. Very probably, the tall contains the prehistoric nucleus of the occupation developing in the basin of Raphaneae.The second part of the ancient settlement area is much larger; it lies further south at the crossing of two ancient roads leading from Apamea to Tripolis and from Emesa across the coastal mountains to Arados. In that region there are numerous massive stone buildings, among them remains of a bath and of an extended house. In 2007 parts of the legionary fortress were identified west of the crossing of the main routes by Ground Penetrating Radar surveys. In the south, the settlement area continues along the road to Tripolis until the spring of Ayn Bini the ancient basin of which is used to this day. Further to the south there follows a necropolis with a largely preserved tomb. More tombs, partially hewn out of the rock and built up in their upper parts, only, are to be found right to the east of the central site. The picture is completed by extensive Roman quarries and by several necropolises in the rocks of the wider surroundings.The survey campaigns carried out since 2005 brought additions to the corpus of inscriptions from Raphaneae, namely part of an Imperial inscription from 167 AD as well as a Greek and two Latin funeral inscriptions.
Direction Générale des Antiquités et des Musées de la Syrie (DGAMS)
Dr. phil. Andreas Grüner,Institut für Klassische Archäologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Meiserstr. 10, D - 80333 München, E-Mail: email@example.com
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Hübner,Fakultät für Geoinformation der Hochschule München Karlstr. 6, D - 80333 München, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. S. Sirri Seren, ZAMG - Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hauptabteilung Geophysik, Hohe Warte 38, A - 1190 Wien, E-Mail: email@example.com
Dr. Karin Bartl, DAI
Dr. Markus Gschwind
c/o Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie und Provinzialrömische Archäologie
D - 80539 München
Dr. Haytham Hasan, DGAMS
M. Gschwind - H. Hasan, Zum Ausstattungsluxus spätantiker Wohnbauten in den Provinzen Syria prima et secunda. Das Fragment einer runden Marmortischplatte ´profilé en bec de corbin´ aus Raphaneae. In: B. Bastl - V. Gassner - U. Muss (eds.), Zeitreisen. Syrien - Palmyra - Rom. Festschrift für Andreas Schmidt-Colinet zum 65. Geburtstag (Wien 2010) 73-102.
M. Gschwind- H. Hasan - J. Ramadan, Investigating the castra hiberna of legio III Gallica: Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys conducted in Raphaneae in 2008. Chronique Archéologique en Syrie 4, 2009 (in print).
M. Gschwind - H. Hasan, The Legionary Fortress and Roman City Raphaneae: Topographical, Archaeological and Geophysical Survey Work conducted in 2005-2007. In: K. Bartl - M. al-Maqdissi (eds.), New Prospecting in the Orontes Region. First Results of Archaeological Fieldwork. Orient-Archäologie (in print).
M. Gschwind - H. Hasan, Raphaneae: Geophysical Survey Work conducted by the Syrian-German Cooperation Project in 2007. Chronique Archéologique en Syrie 3, 2008, 203-216.
M. Gschwind - H. Hasan - A. Grüner - W. Hübner, Raphaneae. Report on the 2005 and 2006 Survey. Zeitschrift für Orient-Archäologie 2, 2009, 234-289.
M. Gschwind, Raphaneae (Syrien). In: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung. Aktuelle Forschungsprojekte (Berlin 2008) 84-85.
M. Gschwind, Raphaneae. In: Jahresbericht 2007 des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Arch. Anz. 2008, 265-267.
M. Gschwind, Raphaneae. In: Jahresbericht 2006 des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Arch. Anz. 2007, 321-323.
M. Gschwind, Raphaneae. In: Jahresbericht 2005 des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Archäologischer Anzeiger 2006, 285 f.
R. Mouterde, A travers l'Apamene. Mélanges de l' Université Saint-Joseph 28, 1949/50, 37 ff. Taf. 14, 1. 3; 15, 2-4.