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El Araj Season 4:Day Five (Week Two)

Soft limestone with an etched tree branch. Its purpose is unknown.

(I apologize for the delay in this posting. Internet Problems.) Yesterday (Thursday) was the final day of session two. It has been an enormously successful session thus far. Our aim this season has been to demonstrate that an extensive settlement existed at el Araj in the Roman (New Testament) period and to locate the Byzantine church of Peter and Andrew. We are well on the way to achieving these aims. I've included a few pictures of our final "pottery reading." Most every afternoon we sit and wash buckets of pottery that have been found on the site. When these have dried, the next day Motti Aviam sits with the group and identifies and dates the finds. It is part of the educational process of the dig. In our final reading we even had in our finds a small deer antler. A decorated piece of Hellenistic pottery is one of the oldest pieces yet found on site. Other finds were uncovered during our final day of excavation. A piece of soft limestone of the type found in Jewish settlements was unearthed. Etched into it is what looks like a tree branch. The base of a glass goblet was found in our square (A5). The center of attention continues to be the large Byzantine mosaic floor that is being uncovered. The thought at present is that this was the atrium or narthex to the church, and that the main sanctuary lies to the east. We may open some additional squares in that direction in the next two weeks. Area C continued to work in cramped quarters to uncover the Roman period pavement. We finally reached floor level in our square A5 and found a pavement with large stones from the Byzantine period. This is likely a pavement along the south side of the church. An interesting find was a small pice of worked glass that is typical of first-second centuries CE. We concluded our day with a summary session with Motti Aviam and group pictures.

Keri finds the base of glass goblet in our square A5.

The base of the glass goblet.

Uncovering the Byzantine mosaic. Note the pattern that is starting to emerge.

Uncovering the Byzantine mosaic. Note the pattern that is starting to emerge.

Area C team works in cramped quarters because of the walls that cut through their square.

A small decorated glass piece is dated to the first or second century CE.

The Byzantine stone pavement in A5.

ORU Team. The mighty five.

Motti sits a final time and summarizes what has been achieved the last two weeks.

El Araj Dig Team Session One 2019.

Sunrise from my room at Migdal on the final day of Session One.

Small deer antler.

Small pice of decorated Hellenistic pottery. This likely comes from the beginning of settlement on the site.

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