Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Today was a day of small but very significant finds. Sunya, Kathryn and Christopher have joined me in A5. We are currently at the Byzantine level with a stone pavement. We hope to receive permission soon to go down through it to the earlier periods. On the pavement today was found a coin that likely is Roman. In the square next to us an almost entirely intact Crusader "bee hive" lamp was unearthed. The archaeologists continue to prepare the Byzantine mosaic from the church for photography and preservation. The Machiela family working in the square where the ORU group was last week are finding Roman pottery. As they dig down, they have also uncovered a large Roman wall under the long 30 meter Byzantine wall. Area C has begun in Session Two with elements with which we became familiar last year. Two families from Hong Kong bring their young boys, who keep themselves occupied playing together next to the square. The Roman period floor excavated in Session One was removed in the morning to continue down. Underneath hugely significant finds were discovered: early Roman coins, a glass vessel, and most importantly of all very nicely worked pieces from "limestone vessels." These are important because they are one of the distinctive markers of Jewish settlement. Developing Jewish ritual purity laws in the first century BCE and CE saw the production of this distinctive ware. It is one of the clearest pieces of evidence yet that we are excavating the site of the Jewish village of Bethsaida. Already efforts are being made to prepare for new squares in Area C. This week and next we will be joined by dozens of Israeli college students who will be excavating at el Araj as part of their summer course.