Ancient Israelite capital Sebastia, site of important Roman and Crusader ruins, lies unprotected because of security situation.
The Times of Israel reports:
The ancient town of Sebastia is one of the major archaeological sites of the Holy Land, with its overlapping layers of history dating back nearly 3,000 years. But today the hilltop capital of biblical kings, later ruled by Roman conquerors, Crusaders and Ottomans, is marred with weeds, graffiti and garbage.
Caught between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions, the site has been largely neglected by both sides for the past two decades. Beyond the decay, unauthorized diggers and thieves have taken advantage of the lack of oversight to make off with priceless artifacts.
“You can learn the history of the whole region (by) staying here because all the powers that crossed the region since the time of the Egyptians were passing through,” said Carla Benelli, an art historian who has been working on restoration projects in parts of the site, financed in part by the Italian government . “From this point of view, it’s really very important.”
But the site needs basic maintenance, protection and cleaning, she said. “There is no one who is doing this here in Sebastia. It will not last forever in this way”…