Archaeology School in Israel with Dr. Notley

July 1-14, 2017
Undergraduate and Graduate credit available

Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary invite you to join a unique two-week archeology school. Bethsaida was lost for centuries and its location the subject of speculation by pilgrims and mapmakers. With the advent of geographical exploration of the Holy Land in the nineteenth century, the search intensified in the northern regions of the Sea of Galilee. Two theories advanced at that time still dominate the debate today. Edward Robinson followed Richard Pococke’s suggestion that et-Tell - the location of the present day Bethsaida Excavations Project - was the site of ancient Bethsaida-Julias. Later, the German explorer, Gottlieb Schumacher, noting the problem of et-Tell’s distance from the lake, proposed an alternative site for Bethsaida at el-Araj. The survey brought to light several significant artifacts with specific architectural features that support the suggestion that the site of el-Araj is a potential location for the first-century city of Bethsaida: fragments of building columns, ornamental basalt ashlar bases, round and heart shaped limestone fragments (some featuring egg and dart designs), and building thresholds. These recovered artifacts are indicative of architectural features found on Roman buildings during the first and second centuries, and can potentially confirm the identification and dating of the village of Bethsaida. This initial evidence is significant in supporting the need to move forward with an archaeological excavation at el-Araj. Further excavation will continue the search for additional fragments, coins, animal remains (used in sacrificial offerings), and physical features on ground to support a broader topographical study of the site. 

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