In the Field: Bethsaida Week One
Throughout the coming summer months, I will post weekly or periodic progress/activity updates for several digs in diverse parts of the world as they unfold during their summer 2005 seasons. It is hoped that the continuing updates will afford readers (especially those who are not able to participate in digs at this time) a taste (albeit "virtual") of what it is like to be on a dig, and also a chance to share in the excitement of discovery as it occurs in the field.......so watch for the postings entitled "In the Field" for the latest activities, large and small, before they hit the press!
Soon to be posted at the Bethsaida website, here is the most recent report from a key Bethsaida Excavations Project volunteer. Bethsaida, the famous ancient fishing town near the Sea of Galilee in present day Israel, was frequented by Jesus during His ministry. It was mentioned often in the Bible's New Testament account, and has been under archaeological excavation for a number of years. It has yielded numerous important finds bearing on the ancient Geshurite Kingdom of the time of David and Solomon and, of course, the town that Jesus and the apostles knew:
Wow, the '05 season opened on May 23rd. Rami Arav (Excavations Director) & Elizabeth McNamer brought groups from their respective schools and additional volunteers joined from other parts of the
Sunday evening orientation and introductions were conducted at the main room at the dormitory of the Ginosar Inn. Monday morning we drove out to the site which is about 10 miles (17 kilometers) north of kibbutz Ginosar. Rami explained about the site and the rest of the morning was spent cleaning up the area and setting up the shade awnings, sifters and the pottery washing area. During the course of the week the outer city wall next to the bastion to the east of the main city gate was uncovered. We continue to look for the bedrock base of the most ancient iron age walls of the city. Good progress was made taking off the top layer of dirt from the continuation of the cobblestone street leading to the city from the north. The top layer of dirt was also removed from the northern section of the upper area ("C").
Two coins were found; one apparently medieval and the second probably Roman. The "find of the week" was a beautiful bead that was discovered while sifting dirt. This illustrates how important every aspect of the work is, from digging out the dirt and rocks and putting all interesting items into the "find" bucket to sifting the dirt and lastly washing all the items in the "find" bucket. What is missed during the 1st stage can often be picked up during the sifting or washing.
---- Shai Schwartz
See the Bethsaida website for more information about the Bethsaida Excavations Project.