Gamla, alongside Yodefat, is one of the few examples of a battle site of the first century CE in the Roman Empire that was left as it was abandoned. Since the site was never resettled, it provides an almost unparalleled glimpse of Jewish life in the last decades of the Second Temple period.
Shmarya Gutmann, the first serious explorer of Masada, led the excavations at Gamla for 14 seasons (1976–1989). After participating in the Yadin excavations at Masada, he saw Gamla as the ‘missing link’ in the history of the Great Revolt. Notwithstanding the major importance of Gamla as the best preserved example of a Jewish city that flourished in the last two centuries of the Second Temple Period, Gutmann invested his major efforts in studying the siege and the battle.
What follows reflects primarily his findings and conclusions, with some modifications based on new data or new interpretation.
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