Week 2, Day 4 — El Araj (Bethsaida-Julias) Excavation Project
El Araj (Bethsaida-Julias) Excavation Project Season 6 (2022) Week 2 Day 4 (Wednesday) - Sorry for the delay in this post. In an attempt to accommodate the National Park Authority's desire to remove some dead eucalyptus trees on our site, we flipped our Friday and Wednesday schedules to make today a touring day with Motti Aviam as our guide. We began in the morning at Hippos/Sussita, one of the Decapolis cities (on the east side of the Sea of Galilee) that has been actively excavated in recent years uncovering Roman/Byzantine remains, including seven Byzantine churches. Motti guided much of the site, but at one point we received input from Kaitlyn Hawn one of our student excavators who just finished a two week stint at Hippos before coming to the el Araj excavation. Then we traveled to nearby Tel Saki, site of a battle on the Golan Heights in the Yom Kippur war. Motti shared of his personal experience, being overrun by the Syrian army and being one of 27 soldiers wounded, cramped in a 12x20 foot bunker. It was quite moving and reminded us of the human element in the places we visit and dig. We then went to Umm el-Qanatir, visiting a reconstructed Byzantine synagogue. Finally we traveled to Katzrin, enjoying falafel and shwarma for lunch and a tour of the Golan Archaeological Museum to end our day.