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El Araj Season 4: Day Four (Week 4)

Gently uncovering the coins.

Today was the last full day of excavations. There was a flurry of activity as everyone tried to finish up their square. By midday we began to realize the results of our labor. Digging down for days, suddenly there were mosaic floors uncovered in almost every square. We can now understand the size and scale of this Byzantine basilica. The Church of the Apostles (as we have begun to call it), built over the house of Peter and Andrew, must have been a magnificent structure. It will take another season to fully uncover it. One of the real surprises midmorning was discovering a small hoard of Ottoman period coins, including some gold French ones. These were slowly and carefully removed. In Area C things are also winding up. Another surprise on the last day was finding a large Roman period taboon (oven). Finally, the results of the ground penetrating imaging are beginning to come back. It seems that the nearby field is full of houses from the ancient past. As we begin to wind up our activities from Season Four, we have begun to strategize about next year.

Close confines uncovering the mosaics.

A surprise on the final day of digging was a small hoard (20) of coins, including some gold French coins dated to 1864.

Sunya and Kathryn repairing the mosaics.

Cleaning the mosaics.

Sunya and Kathryn with Yeshu Drey.

Kinneret College students work to unearth the basilica.

With interior walls removed Area C opens up.

Area C.

Achiya Cohen-Tavor presents some of our finds to Dr. Gabriel Barkay.

Preserving the mosaics.

Cleaning the mosaics.

Sometimes you become attached to your mosaic.

Roman taboon in Area C.

The end results of our excavating in B6: A mosaic floor and a pedestal for a pillar, but much of the floor had been damaged and the mosaic removed.

Hundreds of unused black tesserae.

Mosaic and pedestal in B6.

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