Day 5 - [A technical glitch with the wifi where I was staying and the need to transition from Galilee to Jerusalem yesterday led to a delay in this post.] Today was the final day of our shortened one-week summer dig with the Kinneret College students. In Motti Aviam's estimation we achieved our aims for this week.
We have brought more clarity to the outlines of the Byzantine Church of the Apostle in preparation for our October excavation, and we have added to the evidence of first-century settlement about 100 meters north of the main excavation area. This latter point strengthens the results from Area C two years ago. Once again there were some particularly interesting finds. Early in the morning one of the students unearthed a portion of a small column likely belonging to the Byzantine Church. Later in the day another student found a fired mud brick. Even though it was found among Byzantine remains, it belonged to the first-century Roman bath that was found in 2017. In Area C2 students continued to dig and soon encountered mud and water b/c they were excavating at a lower level. Still they were able to identify the walls of three more first-century houses, which corresponds to the houses nearby found in 2019. Together they argue that the settlement of Bethsaida-Julias covered a relatively large area and invites more extensive excavation. Among the finds from C2 were a coin that Achiya CohnTavor suggests may date to the first-century BCE. Later in the day Motti Aviam and Ayelet Tachter did the tedious and necessary work of sorting the pottery and finds to keep the most significant pieces for later research and reports. We were also visited by Haim Ben David from Kinneret College who is an expert on ancient synagogues in the Golan Heights. I conclude with a few pictures of walls after they were cleaned and prepared for photographical records. The site is now ready for further excavation in October. If you would like to be a part of history, consider joining us October 1-15. Applications are due today Friday July 30: https://www.emmausjourneys.com/2021elarajexcavation