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El Araj Season 4: Day Three (Week 3)

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Corner piece of the marble chancel screen.

Apologies for the delay in posting. We only worked until mid-morning today and then drove to Jerusalem, returning to Migdal very late and making a FB post impossible. I have been playing catch up since then. Some of the pictures today are courtesy of Zachary Wong who is leading a group from Hong Kong on the dig. The first couple of pictures of the Jordan River and aerial photos are with his drone. They provide a nice perspective on the physical context for our excavation. This is particularly true for the main excavation "Area A." I have marked on the photo squares A5 and B5 (in Area A) begun at the outset of the season. Squares A6 and B6 are under the floor of the previous Ottoman house and are being opened towards the end of the season. It is hard to believe that for the first two seasons, excavation was limited to 4 squares (Area A Squares A1-4).Tremendous progress is being realized with lots of information. Today another piece of the marble chancel screen was uncovered in the morning. In A5 we continue to dig and find lots of coins on the stone pavement. Dan Machiela and his family discovered what I think are some of the more interesting finds of the day. Below the long 30 meter Byzantine wall they uncovered a Roman period wall with three rounded edged stones that served as a threshold. Could this have been the entrance to the Roman bath? They also found the handle of an early Galilean cooking pot and most remarkable a piece of colored marble that belonged to a Roman period "opus sectile" paved floor found in luxurious homes and installations in this land in the Roman period. In Area C (100 meters/yards to the north) they continue to make good progress with all of the pottery and coins being from the first to third centuries CE. After our "second breakfast" at the excavation site, the Notley clan drove to Jerusalem to see the Marc Chagall stain glass windows at the Ein Kerem Hospital where Kathryn was born. We spent the remainder of the day wandering the streets of Jerusalem, ending with a lovely meal on the roof of the Notre Dame Center overlooking the walls of the Old City.

The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River only about 50 yards/meters from the excavation site.

Aerial pictures of Area A, the main excavation site.

Excavating down through the Byzantine street to the Roman level.

Kathryn digging in A5.

Roman period coin. If you look closely you can see the bust of the emperor or local ruler that often appeared on these coins.

Roman period threshold under the Byzantine wall.

Handle of early Galilean cooking pot.

Color marble piece from an opus sectile floor.

Area C.

Friends at the excavation site.

The two squares of Area C. Note the internal walls that have been uncovered. These are all from the Roman period.

Fragments from "discus" styled oil lamps.

Roman period coin. To date over 50 have been unearthed this season.

Sunya and Kathryn with the Marc Chagall windows.

Enjoying the streets of Jerusalem.

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