El Araj Excavations Day 18 (Week 4/Day 4). Today was the last full day of the excavations this season. Once again there were many finds including coins and portions of pottery with which we can date our site to the early Roman period. In addition, there were a couple of unique finds. First was a Roman/Byzantine ring found by the Israeli students from Kinneret College. Also a Roman dice used for games by those who lived here. We have increasing numbers of visitors who come to see our progress. David Bivin brought two of his grandsons. It was David's publishing two articles by Mendel Nun in the 1990s bringing the question of Bethsaida to public attention that were the seed from which this initiative sprung almost 20 years later. Finally, we had a very special visit. We knew that the the Crusader sugar bowls and sorghum pots had been sent for restoration. What we did not know is that under the direction of an archaeologist and ceramics specialist they had been reconstructed by a group of Israeli senior citizens who had spent the last two years training to do this. Three of them brought the antiquities back to the site and presented them the dig team. Kathryn was reunited with the sorghum pot that she had gently removed from earth three years ago. It was a wonderful occasion. The day ended with an opportunity to swim in the Jordan River that flows about 75 yards from the excavation site. A nice, cool way to end a hot and dusty day of excavation.
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