Nyack's Historic Excavation: Something to Write Home About

Posted by Deborah.Walker on Friday July 22, 2016


Literally on the ground in Israel, Dr. R. Steven Notley, Nyack College’s Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins and Director of Graduate Programs in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins (AJCO) took time to share journal entries with home base in New York as students and staff continue their historic archaeological dig this month. (Read details about their exciting journey.)

Via email, Dr. Notley sends along the following snapshots of the group's first four days. Enjoy a mini gallery of photos here.  

Day 1: Sunday, July 10. This was the first day of digging at el-Araj on the Sea of Galilee, including finding the first Roman period coin of the excavation. Juan Arias (pictured above with his wife, Sandra) is an AJCO student on the dig with other students and staff from Kinneret College Israel.

Day 2: Monday, July 11. Excavations at el-Araj included finishing the dig of a Mamluk sugar factory (The only one ever excavated in the country), finding an iron knife (?), pottery reading with Moti Aviam of Kinneret and our discussion of the importance of finding together a roof tile, marble and tessera (pieces of mosaic). These generally appear with a public building (synagogue or church). For the record, we have no mention of a church or Christian tradition attached to el-Araj.

Days 3 and 4: July 12 and 13.  Our days involve rising before the sun, leaving at 5:30 and beginning on site at 6:00. Our finds thus far have included Crusader and Mamluk structures with finds also from late Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine which indicate settlement in these earlier periods. These layers likely will be found deeper. We return to our accommodations at Migdal where we wash the pottery finds and sit with Moti Aviam to sort and identify the pottery. Today included the find of an interesting cut ashlar stone. We have not yet identified its purpose.

More history to treasure and add to the Nyack story!

Want to learn more about Nyack's AJCO program? Click here.

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