Updated: Jul 31, 2021
After two years we have finally resumed our excavations at el A'raj, site of New Testament Bethsaida. Through much effort and a little help from my Israeli friends, I was granted permission to reenter Israel to join Professor Motti Aviam and his students from Kinneret College for one week. Most of the students are excavating squares over the Byzantine Church of the Apostles. They will dig down through the upper layers of the modern (Ottoman) and Crusader periods. In October we will excavate again with volunteers from abroad and local workers for two weeks in the hope of unearthing the mosaics of the church with its decorative patterns and dedicatory inscription.
There is another small group excavating two squares north of the church (near Area C from two years ago). Motti expects to find more Roman period walls of houses from Bethsaida-Julias. Today as I joined the students excavating in the the main excavation area, I came across a small limestone decorative piece that likely adorned the Byzantine church. I will post daily over the next five days (Sunday through Thursday).