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  • Writer's pictureEAEP

EAEP—Summer 2021 — Day 2

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Motti instructs the Kinneret College students in excavation methods.

Day 2 - Today things are heating up with temperatures climbing over 100º F by midday. We begin excavating at 6:30AM and finish at 12:30PM. Students from Kinneret College then sit with Motti for a 30 minute lesson at the end of the dig day.

Area A at El Araj excavating the Byzantine Church of the Apostles.

Today Motti invited me to speak to his students about site identification and the issues that pertain to locating Bethsaida-Julias. We continue to make progress excavating squares within what we have identified is the Byzantine Church of the Apostles (built over the house of Peter and Andrew). Of particular importance in this regard, we have identified the northern wall of the church. Two years ago we unearthed portions of the southern wall and the southern aisle with its beautiful mosaics. We can now say we know the width of the church which is almost 20 meters. Work also continues on the southern squares in C2 where they have quickly uncovered a floor (or street) with multiple layers. Students in C2 found a coin that Achiya suggests may be either Hasmonean or Herodian and also a small link from a bracelet. In today's post I am including some drone pictures courtesy of Achiya CohnTavor. And finally, as a special tip of the hat to my OT oriented friends I have included an Early Bronze period (i.e., before Abraham) ceramic piece found today with evidence that it was handmade with thumb prints visible on the back side. This may indicate a very early human presence in the area probably related to fishing in the lake. If you are interested in joining us October 1-15, Friday July 30 is the deadline for applications.


Aerial shot of the el Araj excavations. On the left is the main excavation area over the Byzantine Church of the Apostles. On the right you can see the covering for area C2 where the students are already finding Roman period remains. By the way, if you look closely you will see the colored kayaks, a new enterprise that has started in the last two years.
The excavations of El Araj on the lake shore of the Sea of Galilee with the Zaki River flowing into the lake.

El Araj excavation site looking north.

Northern wall of the Church of the Apostles.

Crusader wall built within the Byzantine church.

Early Bronze handmade pottery with thumb prints on the backside.

Link to a bracelet found near the 1 century bCE coin.

Roof tile from the Byzantine Church of the Apostles.

Javier (a student at Kinneret College) who found our first mosaics from the Church of the Apostles.

First coin found probably 1 century BCE - either Hasmonean or Herodian.

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