2019 Archaeological Dig in Israel: Behind the Scenes With Dr. R. Steven Notley

It’s news that’s circled the globe and become a new chapter in the Nyack College story!

The El Araj Excavation Project is an archaeological dig engaged by Nyack’s Dr. R. Steven Notley, academic director along with Dr. Mordechai Aviam, archaeological director from Kinneret College in Israel for a fourth summer on the northern short of the Sea of Galilee. Numerous articles about the excavation have appeared in print, online and on television.

Now, “Have Archeologists Found the Lost City of the Apostles?” written by Dr. Notley has been published in Christianity Today. Nyack’s Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Director of Graduate Programs in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins and Chair of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies gives an on-the-ground account of the historic discoveries uncovered by the international team of professors, bible scholars and university students over the past four years.

“We set out with two preliminary objectives this season,” says Dr. Notley, “to find the Byzantine church mentioned by Christian pilgrims, the last being Willibald in 725 CE and to unearth additional evidence that would strengthen the identification of el Araj as the site of first century (Roman period) Bethsaida-Julias.”

The next stage of the project is already planned, shares Dr. Notley, who was a resident of Jerusalem for 16 years and founding chair of the New Testament studies program at the Jerusalem University College.

“Next season we hope to expand upon our achievements this season. It will be our aim to excavate entirely the Byzantine Church of the Apostles. Thus far, we have only uncovered some of the southern rooms of the church, likely the southern aisle. At the end of this current season we were just beginning to uncover the mosaics of what is likely the nave, the center section of the church. We will focus our efforts on unearthing the buildings of the Roman Jewish polis of Bethsaida-Julias. At the end of next season, we hope to be able to publish a preliminary report on our first five seasons and definitely answer the question of the location of New Testament Bethsaida-Julias.”

The Nyack College campus community celebrates the extraordinary journey of the El Araj Excavation Project with Dr. Notley, Dr. Aviam and members of their team.