Fish sauces from Herodian Masada.

Hannah Cotton, Omri Lernau, Yuval Goren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The writers describe, date, and interpret the evidence for the presence of fish sauces, a Roman delicacy, on the Israeli fortress of Masada. Observing that these sauces would have been imported, they note that the evidence for them falls into fish remains, jars that contained fish sauces, and inscriptions on jars containing information about the contents. They go on to discuss the features of these fish sauces, noting three different types—allec, muria, and garum. They add that Masada was occupied by Herod, from 37 to 4 B.C.; by the Romans, in three separate phases between A.D. 6 and 112 or 113; and by the sicarii from A.D. 66 to 73 or 74. They contend that the sauces should be dated to the Herodian phase of occupation. Such a date, they assert, is supported by inscriptions on jars and the discovery of kosher fish in high-quality sauce remains. This, they conclude, would seem to fit into a general pattern according to which Herod attempted to reconcile his Roman tastes with the demands of the Jewish religion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-238
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Roman Archaeology
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1996


  • Roman cooking
  • Ancient civilization
  • History of food
  • Masada Site (Israel)
  • Fish remains (Archaeology)
  • Archaeology methodology
  • Herodian dynasty, 37 B.C.-ca. 100 A.D.
  • Roman history
  • Archaeological excavations
  • Israeli antiquities


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