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Friday, December 17, 2010

Pumping Station

On Thursday we took a trip to the archaeological site of Tel Aphek/Antipatris. The Ottoman fortress itself was interesting, though uninspiring as a ruin. The fortress is spread out and has been made into a tourist attraction, complete with roped-off areas. Walls have been reconstructed, facing stones have been replaced, all vegetation has been removed and in general we found in lacking.

On the other hand, we saw some amazing ruins of the British Mandate pumping station. These ruins were clearly not the emphasis of the park, and the ruins only benefited from this. In one instance we found a ruin that didn't appear on any map and that we had to dig through brush to reach. In other building, we found the remains of machinery that lent a Piranesi-esque feeling to the room.

These two approaches were contrasted with a third ruin on site, the remains of a small theater (designated an odeon by archaeologists due to its small size). The theater was small and the stage area was left in place, half with flagstones and half without. The seating area, however, had been replanted with grass. Although this was clearly done on purpose, one still got a ruin-sense. You could tell that seating existed underneath, but it had been covered by vegetation. This perhaps represents a compromise between the previous two approaches - human intervention and preparation for tourists, yet in a way that maintained much of the site's ruin value.

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