Saturday, October 20, 2012
New discoveries at Bethsaida
... Dr. Nicolae Roddy... and his excavation colleagues were assigned to carefully uncover and explore an area that contained finds of the Roman period of ancient Bethsaida, the fishing town that was, according to the Biblical account, the home of the New Testament Christian apostles Peter, Andrew and Phillip, and likely James and John as well.
"We uncovered a paved street from the time of Jesus's disciples, which runs westward through the residential area from the corner of the Fisherman's House [an excavated structural feature so-named because of the fishing implements associated with it] down toward the Jordan valley", said Roddy. "I tell people that Andrew, Peter, and Phillip almost certainly walked on it because they would have had to have gone out of their way to avoid it!"
The paved road is actually only one feature among many remarkable finds uncovered in recent years during excavations at the ancient site. Identifying it as the possible site of Bethsaida in 1987, University of Nebraska's Dr. Rami Arav, Director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project for more than 20 years, has thus far revealed a settlement site that saw human occupation from before the time of the early Israelite and Judahite kings up through Hellenistic and Roman times and beyond. And although the site is best known in the literature as the birth and dwelling place of some of the Christian apostles and the fishing village frequented by Jesus where some of the best-known miracles of the Biblical account were performed, it is now also thought to be the site where, 3,000 years ago, the ancient Geshurites established the capital of their kingom (Biblical Geshure). Among the more ancient finds of this earlier period are a massive 4-chambered city gate complex, massive defensive walls, a palace, and clear evidence of a destruction event dated to the time of the invasion by the Assyrian King Tiglath Pileser III in 732 B.C.
The Kingdom of Geshur is known from the Hebrew Bible as being closely allied with ancient Israel during the period of the United Monarchy of kings David and Solomon, and for having been visited by King David, who married Ma'achah, the daughter of the king of Geshur...