Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Day 3 - We continue to make progress. Archaeology is a science that requires lots of patience and hard work. This is not easy in the summer heat along the lakeshore, 600 feet below sea level where breezes are rare. The Kinneret College students are slowly uncovering the outline of the walls of the Church of the Apostles - both its exterior walls and its interior walls that partitioned the various portions of the church. Of significance today the students uncovered the northwest pillar base. There were likely six pillars in the church, three along the southern edge of the nave (center section of the church) and three along the north. These pillars separated the northern and southern aisles from the nave of the church. In addition we excavated the eastern end of the northern wall to determine where is the northeast corner of the church. This will be important in determining the dimensions of the church and the location of the apse which faced east. Towards the end of the day we uncovered what seems to be a later Crusader extension to the Byzantine wall at its northeast corner. This is a common feature we have found elsewhere on the site.
In the excavation area north of the church, students continued to work in the two squares of C2 with the most significant find being a portion of colored fresco (painted plaster) that likely decorated an ornate residence. Those who are familiar with Area B that we excavated a few years ago remember also finding portions of frescoes from the Roman period houses. These decorations reflect the urbanization of Bethsaida that Josephus Flavius describes when Herod Philip transformed the village of Bethsaida into the polis (city) of Julias. Finally, I will leave you with a small movie clip of the students yesterday working to the tunes of "Stand by Me." We have two more days of excavation and then we put things on hold for two months, resuming our efforts October 1-15. If you have any interest to join us, we are taking applications until Friday July 30. https://www.emmausjourneys.com/2021elarajexcavation