Bet Shean bāt shĭän´ [key], town (1994 pop. 14,900), NE Israel, in the Jordan River valley, c.300 ft (90 m) below sea level. Situated in a fertile farming region, it is a center for agricultural experiments. Textiles are manufactured. Archaeological excavations have traced settlements on the site back to the Bronze Age: Bet Shean was the site of an Egyptian administrative center during the XVIII and XIX dynasties (see Egypt ), a Scythian city from c.625 to 300 BC, and the biblical city Beth-shan. In 64 BC it was taken by the Romans, rebuilt, and made the center of the Decapolis . The modern Bet Shean was established in 1949 by Israeli settlers. Archaeological finds include temples of the Canaanite Bronze Age, a Hellenistic-Roman temple, and a Byzantine monastery. The town is also known as Beisan.
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