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Masada, Israel

Assault Ramp at Masada

Project objectives

3D Landscape reconstruction and Analysis of soil volumes.


The Siege of Masada as told by Josephus Flavius is one the most famous episodes of the Great Revolt. Between 73-74 CE, hundreds of Jewish rebels were trapped inside Masada by the Romans. According to Josephus, the Romans built an assault ramp that allowed them to breach the walls only to find the Jewish rebels dead after they decided to kill each other rather than fall into the Roman hands.

However, our new multidisciplinary research combining geomorphological investigation, soil survey, 3D landscape reconstruction and soil volumes analysis of the ramp enabled us to clearly separate between the man-made construction and the natural slope environments and to reevaluate and question dramatic events that took place there. Our research has shown that the assault ramp was never completed by the Romans and therefore could not have been operational.

The significance of geomorphological and soil formation research for understanding the unfinished Roman ramp at Masada

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