December 27, 2011

OAT Israel: Gamla Nature Reserve

The ancient city of Gamla ("camel" in Aramaic) was built as a Seleucid (Greek Macedonian dynasty) fort during the Syrian Wars in 3rd Century BC.
In 67 CE, Josephus Flavius conquered Gamla, decimating the population.  No remains were discovered and experts conjecture there must be a yet-to-be-discovered mass grave in the vicinity.  However, many Roman armaments have been unearthed, including this catapult.
Deir Qeruh was a Christian village founded between the 4th and 5th centuries and abandoned during the 7th century after an Arab conquest.  The olive oil press is of the Byzantine era. The city was re-inhabited during the 13th century and finally abandoned by Syrians during the Six Day War in 1967.
The Gamla Nature Reserve protects Griffon vultures, which can live up to 40 years. In 2007, about 50 of these vultures died from eating poisoned meat, an illegal means of killing jackals and other cattle predators.

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