Updated: Jun 20, 2019
El Araj Excavations: Week One Day One. This morning we began our fourth season of excavations at el Araj (Bethsaida-Julias). We were greeted, as is common, with a beautiful sunrise over the Golan Heights. This morning on my drive to the site the sun was rising above the Mount of Beatitudes. Perhaps, we will be particularly "blessed" this season with successful and informative results from our efforts. Having been totally neglected for a year, we found the site completely overrun with weeds, thistles and mustard plants. It did not look like much of an excavation site, and I felt for those who were here for the very first time. After a brief introduction by Dr. Motti Aviam, the archaeological director, we set in to clean and clear the site, both in the excavated areas themselves and the nearby surrounding area that will be needed for our work over the next four weeks. For those unaccustomed to this process, after the clearing of the site, one of the first things we do is to create a tent cover over the entire site to shade us from the hot sun. Predictions this year are for a particularly warm summer (Oh joy!), and protection from the sun is important. This season we are also opening up a new area (Area C) that is about 100 meters/yards west of the main excavation site (Area A). By the middle of the morning, el Araj had begun to look like a real archaeological site. We then returned to the excavated squares and began our work towards one of the main aims this season to take Area A down in its entirety to the Roman Period level. For those interested, I will try to post each day updates on our progress. Keep an eye out for the posts. Shalom from the shores of the Sea of Galilee.