- Title: Caesarea Port 001
When it was built in the 1st century BC, Sebastos Harbor ranked as the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2. King Herod built the 2 jetties of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC, and in 10/9 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Caesar (sebastos is Greek for Augustus). The pace of construction was impressive considering size and complexity. The breakwaters were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, set into an underwater concrete. Herod imported over 24,000 m3 pozzolana from Pozzuoli, Italy, to construct the two breakwaters: the 500 meter long on the south and the 275 meter long on the north. A shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each. Herod also had 12,000 m3 of kurkar quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m3 of slaked lime mixed with the pozzolana.
At its height, Sebastos was one of the most impressive harbors of its time. It had been constructed on a coast that had no natural harbors and served as an important commercial harbor in antiquity, rivaling Cleopatra’s harbor at Alexandria. Josephus wrote: “Although the location was generally unfavorable, [Herod] contended with the difficulties so well that the solidity of the construction could not be overcome by the sea, and its beauty seemed finished off without impediment.”
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- Keywords: Port, Caesarea
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