Caesarea Maritima: the palace vaults



Starting around 70 A.D., the chief Roman official in charge of the administration of finances and taxes throughout the province of Judea held his office in Caesarea Maritima. His palace (praetorium) was located close to the north end of the amphitheatre/hippodrome while the palace of the procurators (Herod’s palace) was situated near the southern end.

During the 1980’s, archaeologists uncovered the ruins of the administrative wing of the praetorium. It consisted of a large hall surrounded by offices. Beneath it, on a lower story, were four large vaults. In the photograph above you can see a portion of three of these four vaults. Some years after their initial construction and purpose, this area was converted into use as additional warehouse (horrea) space for Caesarea’s port.

A historical marker there reads:

These four long, parallel vaults, opening onto the west through a portico, first served as substructures of the Roman financial procurator’s palace. In a later stage, a large ornamented hall was added in front of the vaults converted into warehouses.