The mountaintop fortress town of Gamla fell to the Romans in 67 CE after a protracted battle, earning it comparisons to Masada, which was destroyed a few years later. Because the town remained uninhabited thereafter, it has been a uniquely valuable source for archaeologists—a fact not lost on Shmarya Guttman, who led extensive excavations there during the 20th century. Danny Syon, who supervised the publication of a three-volume report on Guttman’s findings, explains their significance. (Pictures are included at the link below.)
Gamla [was] one of very few sites described in detail by the contemporaneous historian Flavius Josephus in connection with the First Jewish Revolt (66–73 CE). . . . Extensive excavations have yielded vast amounts of information related to the war against the Romans that enable the resurrection of life in a Jewish town of the period. . . . Gutmann was drawn to Gamla because he considered it the “missing link” in the archaeology of the First Jewish Revolt. . . .
Gamla is a located on a camel-hump-shaped hill—hence its name, from the Semitic word for camel—in the lower Golan Heights. It was inhabited during the early Bronze Age. Protected on three sides by steep ravines, the site was defended on the east by an immense wall. The site was not settled again until the Hellenistic period. The Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus annexed Gamla to his state in 81 BCE, and in 66 CE Flavius Josephus—commander of Jewish forces in the Galilee—fortified the site against the Romans.
Josephus, probably an eyewitness, described in painful detai the siege of Gamla by three Roman legions; after one unsuccessful attack, a second succeeded, in which the Jewish defenders were eventually slaughtered along with thousands of women and children, many of whom perished in an attempt to flee down the steep northern slope.