El Araj Season 4: Day Two (Week Two)
We were greeted this morning with another beautiful sunrise over the Bethsaida Plain and the Golan Heights. This year we have put up a sign to greet the steady stream of visitors who are coming to see the excavations. The temperature reached 102ºF today and is expected to reach 106ºF tomorrow. Water and shade are a necessity. Area C continued its excavation of the Roman wall that cuts through its square, but they are also encountering Byzantine intrusions cut into the earlier Roman structures. The second square in Area C that began this week is already encountering walls near the surface. In Area A (the main excavation) a Crusader taboon (oven) was detailed and photographed. Tomorrow the team will dismantle it and continue on down to the earlier layers. The local Bedouin laborers are working hard in the new square on the north side of Area A. In our square (A5) we have been privileged to add to our team this week Dr. Mike and Susan Scales from Nyack College and their grandson Jack. They have been a welcomed addition. Today we unearthed a late Roman coin in our square, a sign of good things to come. As promised yesterday in today's post I am providing today a picture of our square before we began last week and our present state. The square has expanded to 15 feet by 20 feet and we are at a depth of 4 feet. Our goal is to be over 2 meters (6 feet) in depth by Thursday. That should move us squarely into the Byzantine period. Twice a week we end our day with a swim in the Jordan River that flows only a few meters from our site. It is cool and refreshing. At dinner we celebrated Dr. Wink Thompson's 72 birthday.