‘For the town was crowded with refugees because the protection it offered, which was proved by the fact that the forces previously sent by Agrippa to besiege it had made no headway after seven months’
(2, §10)

We have no accurate information on the origin of the refugees, but it can be safely assumed that they were of two kinds. Rebels from Galilee proper, escaping the Roman army, and villagers from the vicinity of Gamla, who sought refuge behind its wall, as was normal practice in antiquity when a town was about to come under siege. Three areas in the city provided evidence for public places used by refugees. In area R, in the western quarters of Gamla, on a stone-paved public square, remains of baking ovens, cookpots and storage jars were found; certainly not the normal location for these. The synagogue itself appears to have been converted to a dwelling for refugees, as evidenced by the dramatic find of a number of meager fireplaces and large quantities of cookpots and storage jars found along the platform next to the northern wall. These were all covered with the ballista balls that smashed the place. Recently, during the seasons of 1997–1999 a new public building was discovered in the western part of the city (area S). While its function at this point in time is unclear and its plan unfamiliar, here too a meager baking oven and a smashed storage jar were found leaning against a square ashlar built pilaster with a carved base .