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El Araj season 4: Day Three (Week Two)

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

A cross inscribed on a Byzantine vessel.

Today was a high point in the season thus far. It began slowly with the cleaning of the Islamic period taboon (oven) before dismantling it to excavate to the lower layers. Numerous finds were uncovered throughout the site. Late Roman coins, Ommayad (early Islamic) painted pottery and late Roman oil lamps. The ORU team continues its dig in the Roman layer of Area A. Area C excavated and recorded Roman and Byzantine remains in its square. We continued to dig in our square A5, now at about 1 1/2 meters in depth. However, the highlight of the day went to two finds from the Byzantine period. First was a finely cut cross on a Byzantine vessel, clear evidence of a Christian presence on the site. Then towards the end of the day, we uncovered a mosaic floor from the Byzantine church, likely the one mentioned by Willibald bishop of Bavaria in 725 CE. This is not the colored mosaic that we are searching for but it is clear proof that the church stood here in the Byzantine era. Everyone is excited with only two more days in Session One.

Mosaic floor from the Byzantine church.

The taboon (oven).

Ommayad painted pottery.

First century Roman period oil lamp.

ORU team continues its Roman period excavation.

Our square A5 approaching 1 1/2 meters deep.

Area C team hard at work.

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