Today was a day of taking down the walls of the medieval (Crusader) settlement of el Araj in preparation for digging down to the lower (earlier) levels. We very much appreciate having a group of Galilean bedouin who help doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the removal of the Crusader period walls. Yehoshua Dray (a well known conservator) visited with his metal detector and located about 20 coins mostly from the Byzantine period that were found beneath where the Crusader walls once stood. Another impressive find was an intact millstone (upper and lower) in very good condition. The new area C, which I mentioned yesterday, was moved today to the north of the main excavation (Area A) about 150 meters/yards. The beginning process in these new squares is very hard work to break new ground, removing rocks and preparing for further excavation. Already today Area C has produced Roman period pottery, which is an indication of good things to come. I am working on a new square immediately between Area A and the floor of the Ottoman house. Somewhere in this vicinity was seen in 1929 a magnificent Roman-Byzantine mosaic two meters below the surface. We are hopeful that we will finally be able to relocate this important vestige from the past. Once again, it takes a lot hard, slow work in these beginning stages, but we are hopeful about what lies beneath. Two of the pictures posted today are of the nearby Jordan River which flows about 75 meters/yards from el Araj and empties into the Sea of Galilee. I can attest that there is nothing like ending a hot, tiring day with a swim in the Jordan River.
- R. Steven Notley, Educational Director, EAEP