El Araj Excavations Day 5 (Week 2/Day 1). We wake at 4:15AM, eat a light breakfast, and make our way to the dig by 6:00 always with view of the beautiful sunrise over the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Today we began our work to expand the area around last year's probe which unearthed the Roman bath house. Our aim is to gain more information with which to better understand its importance for the history of Bethsaida-Julias. Among the significant finds today were a Byzantine nail, many many coins, and hundreds of white limestone tesserae (probably from either the open-air atrium of the Byzantine church or a wine press). One special find was the bottom portion from a glass lamp that belonged to chandelier from the Byzantine church that is waiting to be unearthed. We concluded our day "reading pottery." Dr. Motti Aviam sits with the participants and goes through all the pottery that they washed on the previous day. He teaches them about the different styles of pottery and how we can use it to date the levels we are excavating. We expect great things in the coming days.
- R. Steven Notley