For the past two summers Dr. R. Steven Notley (pictured right), Nyack’s Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, has served as the academic director for the El-Araj Excavation Project (EAEP) with Dr. Mordechai Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College in Israel. Last year’s dig uncovered evidence of the ancient city, Bethsaida-Julias. It was news that literally circled the globe. Just a few short months following that discovery, Dr. Notley learned that National Geographic included the article, “The Real Story Behind the ‘House of Jesus’ Apostles’ Discovery” among the revered magazine’s “Best of 2017 Editors’ Favorites.”
Last month Dr. Notley and his Nyack team, which for a third year included Assistant Professor Dr. Jeffrey Garcia (NC ’05) and Nyack Director of Bailey Library Sunya Notley, returned to the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee to be a part of a new chapter of that belongs in the Nyack story—season three of the El-Araj Excavation Project, which will run through July 13, 2018. Nyack’s 2018 valedictorian, Christine Rosa de Freitas is also a part of the crew.
About the current excavation efforts, Dr. Notley commented, “While we are expanding both geographically and in the length of our season, we will continue to dig down in existing squares from the Byzantine to Roman levels. This expansion will help us better understand the context for the Roman bathhouse from last season that seems to be an indication of Herod Philip’s urbanization of Bethsaida-Julias, according to the Jewish historian, Josephus. This opens many possibilities as we also search for a Byzantine church and its mosaics that were reported to be built over the house of the Apostles Peter and Andrew.”
Visit the El Araj Excavation Project blog and read the EAEP team’s daily reports from the field.