The El-Araj Excavation Project is today considered the leading candidate for first-century Bethsaida-Julias. Excavations carried out over five seasons since 2016 have uncovered evidence of a settlement in the Roman period on the northern lakeshore. The most remarkable find from this period is a Roman bathhouse. This feature reflects the urbanization described by Josephus in Antiquities 18:28 when Herod Philip raised the status of Bethsaida from a village to a small polis and renamed it Julias. Jewish presence at the site is also indicated by stone vessels, which are a tell-tale sign of Jewish settlement, and knife-pared “Herodian” lamps that were only made in Jerusalem prior to 70 C.E.
In the last two seasons, excavators have unearthed the lost, legendary Church of the Apostles reported by Byzantine pilgrims who witness to the Christian tradition that the basilica was believed to have been built over the house of Peter and Andrew in Bethsaida. Excavations this summer will finish uncovering the Byzantine church floor and begin excavating surrounding houses from the first-century Roman era.
Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel
July 22 - August 5, 2022
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
To be determined
Mordechai Aviam: Kinneret Academic College
Steven Notley: Nyack College.