Islamic Roman Bath Reuse?

Not really Classical, per se, but an interesting item from Media Line:

Perched atop a small promontory overlooking a Mediterranean beach, a local Don Juan appears to have built a Roman-era style bathhouse atop his fortress.

Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University say that their dig at the Yavneh-Yam site, located between the current day cities of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Ashdod, revealed a beautiful bathhouse, with duplex floors, a water heating system and underground ducts, all in the classic Roman style.

Only it was totally out of place and smack in the middle of the remains of a fortress from the Early Islamic period of the ninth century, over half a millennium after the Romans, in their final incarnation as the Byzantine Empire, had been forcibly removed from the Holy Land by Muslim warriors.

“I thought perhaps we had reached a Byzantine layer, but the pottery shards we found and the edifice we were in were definitely from the Islamic period,” Moshe Fischer, a professor of archeology at the university’s Department and the Institute of Archaeology, told The Media Line.

“It was unusual because whoever built it used the technology from an earlier era and it could be one of the lasts uses of this technology we find,” Fischer said.

Yavneh-Yam was a port that served inland settlements almost without interruption between the Bronze Age (mid-second millennium BCE) until the Middle Ages.
Fischer, who heads the archaeological dig, said the promontory that it sits on projects into the sea and forms the southern boundary of a natural harbor that had been in use since the Bronze Age.

Fischer said they uncovered the remains of a bathhouse was the only example he knew in the region of the use of a Roman-style bathhouse during the Early Islamic period and also the only example so far of the existence of a bathhouse in a military fortress.

“I could be that some local commander who behaved like a Don Juan decided to build this style of bathhouse,” Fischer said. “It wasn’t that they didn’t take baths — they did for sure — but that the used a Roman style bathhouse was a surprise.”

According to Fischer, both the fortification and the bathhouse discovered this year add to the archaeological evidence connecting Yavneh-Yam to the marine fortress of “Mahoz Yubna” (The Harbor of Yavneh), which served among other things to protect the coastal region. It was also used as a transit point for exchanging prisoners between Muslims and Christians in the Early Islamic period.

I can’t quite tell from the context whether there is reuse of Roman structures going on here (e.g. pipes etc.) or if this is all Islamic construction … probably the former. I also can’t quite figure out the ‘Don Juan’ reference at all, but the press seems to like it …

JOB: Early Greek Lit @ UTennessee Knoxville

Seen on various lists:

Please direct all inquiries to Aleydis Van de Moortel.


The Department of Classics has been authorized to make an appointment in Greek philology at the rank of tenure-track Assistant Professor. Ph.D. required. The expertise sought is Greek poetry with emphasis on the Archaic period (8th through 6th centuries BCE), including Homer, Hesiod and Greek lyric, and a concomitant interest in pre-classical/classical history, culture, and material culture. An ability to integrate with the department¹s strength in Aegean prehistoric archaeology is desirable. Also desirable is an active interest in classical (5th century) Greek poetry, especially tragedy. The successful candidate will show strong promise of scholarly achievement, and demonstrated excellence in teaching the classical languages. Salary competitive. We will begin screening applications on November 15, 2011, and will continue reviewing them until the position is filled. Please send letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference to Aleydis Van de Moortel, Chair of the Search Committee, Department of Classics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-0413. Please address inquiries to avdm AT The Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University.

The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

Circumundique ~ September 12-13, 2011

Seem to have missed posting some of these yesterday:


This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xviii kalendas octobres

ante diem xviii kalendas octobres

  • ludi Romani (day 10 )
  • equorum probatio — the official cavalry parade of the equites (in conjunction with the above)
  • 23 A.D. — death of Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus the Younger), son of the emperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina
  • 81 A.D. — official dies imperii of Domitian (recognition by the senate)
  • 208 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Diadumenianus?
  • 258 A.D. — martyrdom of Cyprian