• EAEP

El Araj Season 4: Day Two (Week 3)

Updated: Jul 8, 2019



Designs have begun to emerge from the Byzantine church mosaic.


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.



Raising up young archaeologists.

Father and son excavating Bethsaida-Julias.

The floor has been removed from the square in Area C. Excavation now continues down into the early Roman (New Testament) level.

Large piece of glass from a Roman period vessel.

Unusually large (and heavy) Roman coin. The bust in the center can already be detected.

A piece from one of two stone vessels found. These are found only Jewish settlements of the early Roman period. This is precisely what one would expect to find in the Jewish village of Bethsaida.

Preparations being made to expand Area C, likely 2 or 3 squares. These new squares will need to have the shade covering that protects us from the hot summer sun.

Team Notley. — with Steven Notley, Kathryn Notley, Christopher Notley and Sunya Schlichting Notley.

Possible Roman coin found in our square A5.

An almost complete Crusader beehive lamp.

220 views1 comment

Created by: The Center for the Study of Ancient Judaism & Christian Origins 

©elarajexcavations.com 2019