Updated: Jul 27
El Araj (Bethsaida-Julias) Excavation Project Season 6 (2022) Week 2 Day 1 (Sunday) Today was the first day for our volunteers. It is truly an international endeavor with folks from the UK, Brazil, Slovakia, Hong Kong, and the US. We were greeted with a lovely sunrise over our excavation site. Motti Aviam provided an initial introduction and instructions. Then we divided up in the squares. We continue to open squares east and north of the Byzantine basilica. We have also opened up a new square (Area D) a couple hundred meters to the west of Area A. We are taking advantage of the nearby lake with a station to wash pottery. This is standard preparation for "reading" the pottery. All in all it was a great first day with tremendous progress being made. This morning was also our first on site breakfast. We enjoy a light breakfast at 4:30AM before traveling to the site and then a veritable feast on site at 8:30AM. After we are rested, fed and refreshed we launch back into our squares as the morning heats up ending our work at noon. The sun is intense and temperatures exceed 100 degrees. After lunch we took a group field trip to Magdala where Motti spoke about the first century synagogue and the decorated stone found in it.
El Araj (Bethsaida-Julias) Excavation Project Season 6 (2022) Week 2 Day 2
Today we expanded our work in the existing squares and prepare for the arrival of the volunteers. We break about 8:30 in the morning for "second breakfast" which is usually a treat of yogurts, vegetables and cheese. Each day the students sit with Motti Aviam and Achia Kohn-Tavor at the end of the day to go over that day's activities. The area just east of the basilica apse continues to be a focal point of interest. It is a large structure with an internal apse directed toward the basilica. Hopefully in the coming weeks we will better understand its purpose.