Two Inferred Antique earthquakes recorded in the Roman theater of Beit-Ras / Capitolias (Jordan)

Al-Tawalbeh, Mohammad and Jaradat, Rasheed and Al-Bashaireh, Khaled and Al-Rawabdeh, Abdulla and Gharaibeh, Anne and Khrisat, Bilal and Kázmér, Miklós (2021) Two Inferred Antique earthquakes recorded in the Roman theater of Beit-Ras / Capitolias (Jordan). SEISMOLOGICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 92 (1). pp. 564-582. ISSN 0895-0695

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A Roman theater is recently being excavated at Beit-Ras/Capitolias in Jordan, which is one of the Decapolis cities, founded before 97/98 AD. This is an archaeoseismological study that aims to investigate temporal and intensity impacts on the existing structures. A rich set of Earthquake Archaeological Effects (EAEs) are identified, including deformed arches, tilted and collapsed walls, chipped corners of masonry blocks, and extensional gaps indicating a seismic intensity of VIII-IX. Contrary to the long lasting belief that the 749 AD event is the main candidate earthquake damaging most of the Decapolis cities, the study found that at least two major older earthquakes damaged the site and may have led to the abandonment of its major use as a theater at different periods. This is based on field observations of construction stratigraphy and damage features and on the assessment the observed destruction and on reports in literature. The date of the first event is bracketed between the establishment of the city (before 97/98 AD) and an inscription in the walled-up orchestra gate in 261 AD. This earthquake destroyed the external wall of the theater's external annular passageway (ambulatorium), the scaena, and its staircases. The most likely candidate earthquake is 233 AD or other event which is not mentioned in any catalogue. After restoration, another earthquake occurred between 261 AD and Late Roman-Early Byzantine times, when the scaena wall tilted and collapsed, rendering the building useless and beyond repair. It is probably 363 AD earthquake. Filled up with debris, the theater went out of use. The paper provides a rich discussion of potential causative earthquakes based on archaeoseismological, construction stratigraphy observations, and calibrated intensity of historical earthquake-based attenuation modelling. It identifies the potential phases and types of destruction and reuse. It is setting the grounds for future archaeological and seismological research on this site.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QE Geology / földtudományok > QE01 Geophysics / geofizika
Depositing User: M. Kázmér
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 15:00
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 15:00

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