With the current high level of tensions in Jerusalem and the other occupied Palestinian territories following recent abductions and murders, the schedule for the Palestine of Jesus course has been amended slightly.
Planned visits to sites on the West Bank have been deleted from the program: Nablus on Wednesday afternoon, Hebron on Thursday, and Bethany on Friday. The visit to Bethany was moved up to Wednesday afternoon in place of the trip to Nablus. On Thursday the College program went to Caesarea Maritima where they explored the archaeological areas as well as enjoying an opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean. Those keen to justify their “Med Sea, Dead Sea, Red Sea” t-shirts will be pleased with that change to the program!
For my part, I spent the morning on the site at Bethsaida. This allowed me to collect the essential data about the 26 coins found this season at Bethsaida, as well as to check on progress with Area T.
The southern end of the 10m x 4m ‘square’ that we opened this year has now been excavated to about 1.5m depth.
This has exposed the continuation of W1200 first located in 2012 as well as a Syrian fox hole:
Meanwhile, in the northern end of the square the crew has cleaned up the area nicely and exposed a well-preserved packed earth floor.
Next step is to prepare the technical drawings of the area:
In the evening we enjoyed a fascinating lecture under the stars by Richard Freund and Harry Joel. They explained how the portable Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) systems can now assist us to identify locations for excavation, in place of the traditional intuitive methods still much preferred by many field archaeologists.