In what could be one of the most exciting and important archaeological finds in recent memory, the home of three of Jesus’ apostles – Peter, Andrew, and Philip – may have finally been uncovered.
A group of archaeologists from Israel and New York dug up what they initially believe as the former village of Bethsaida, where the three apostles were supposedly born and raised. The combined efforts of the experts from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College in Israel and New York’s Nyack College may bring more light to what happened to the said village, which sat in the lost Roman city of Julias, along with how the people including the apostles lived during their time.
The archaeologists were excavating at el-Araj, an area many in the field believed to be where the ancient city of Julias once stood. The group was digging along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and the resulting discovery points to the possibility that they have found Bethsaida. As reported by the New York Post, the archaeologists have determined el-Araj as the “leading candidate for the lost city of Jesus’ Apostles.”
Steven Notley, the academic director of the excavation team who hails from Nyack College, stressed that more excavations are necessary to “confirm and clarify” that they have indeed found the lost city of the apostles.
According to Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, the Roman city of Julias originated from Bethsaida, a Jewish fishing village. It was around the 1st century AD when the city started taking shape. In the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, it was mentioned that Bethsaida was not only the home of the aforementioned apostles but also the site of two miracles performed by Jesus. It was in the lost village of Bethsaida that Jesus healed a blind man as mentioned in Mark 8:22-26. The popular story in which Jesus fed around 5,000 people also happened near Bethsaida. This was mentioned in Luke 9:10-17.
Because of the importance of these two biblical and miraculous events, many archaeologists and other experts have been searching for the lost city of Julias, particularly the village of Bethsaida. If the said archaeologists are correct in their initial findings, then the lost city may have finally been found.
Some of the clues that the archaeologists shared include a Byzantine structure and over 30 coins unearthed from its floor. According to the group, the floor may have been built around the 5th century AD based on the age of the coins. Digging further, the archaeologists also unearthed pottery, more coins, and other structures from the Roman era. The Roman-style bathhouses that they dug up are some of their best finds to date. The Roman baths indicate that the area was urbanized which, in turn, suggests that this certain part of el-Araj could be the lost city of Julias.
[Featured Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]