Today continued a string of remarkable finds. In our square A5 a marble paver was uncovered in the morning, another indicator that a church once stood here. During the day it seems almost every bucket of dirt contained ceramic roof tiles, evidence of the monumental collapse of the church's roof. The hope is that soon we will arrive to the original floor beneath. The squares being dug by the local Bedouin laborers are working at the Roman level and they unearthed a part of a lovely basalt Ionic capital. To the north in Area C they have reached stone pavement in the Roman period settlement. Next week they will continue to dig down to the earlier occupation. The most stunning find thus far, however, has been the mosaic floor from the Byzantine period, a vestige of the large church. As more of the floor is uncovered we are detecting patterns of colored tesserae. The square should be completely cleared tomorrow and the conservator will arrive on Sunday, the first day for Session Two. Tomorrow is the final day of Session One and we are excited to see what will rise up from the past.
Sunrise over the excavations at el Araj.
A roof tile from the church.
Dozens of roof tiles were found in A5.
Marble flooring from the Byzantine church.
Lovely glass vase.
The lower vertical line of wall (running to the right of the young man in red) and extending next to the bucket is a a wall remaining from the large structure in the Roman period. Could this be part of the Roman bath that was discovered only a few feet away?
Part of a basalt Ionic capital.
Side shot of the Ionic capital.
The new square excavated by the local laborers is working down through the Crusader level. Not the edge of the sugar vessel.
Area C has reached the pavement in the Roman period.
Working to unearth the mosaic.
Mosaic from the Byzantine church.
Motti Aviam standing on the Byzantine mosaic.