Ancient Biblical city where Jesus healed blind man 'unearthed' in Israel
Archaeologists claim they may have found the biblical city of Bethsaida in Israel where Jesus is believed to have given a blind man sight.
Bethsaida was the “house of hunting” or “fishing” and is mentioned in the New Testament, referenced in John 1:44.
After archaeologists in Israel announced the discovery of the Church of the Apostles, questions followed and a team of researchers set about finding Bethsaida.
Excavations began in 2016 under the direction of Professor Mordechai Aviam from the Kinneret College Israel. With a small budget and team, the researchers set off for the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The team was convinced that there was a settlement at el Araj over a thousand years spanning the Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Crusader periods — precisely the time frame of Bethsaida, according to historical records.
At the ancient site, the team found remains from a Crusader sugar factory that had mostly reused still-standing Byzantine walls.
After the initial excavation in 2016, the team returned to the historical site the following season to find a Byzantine monastery accompanied by a church — a common combination in Galilee.
Although the archaeologists were unable to identify the walls of the church, its existence was signalled each season by the discovery of individual gold-gilded glass tesserae.
The team then proceeded to dig two probes in an attempt to find Roman remain under the Byzantine floors and were stunned by what they found.
Researchers found numerous coins and a layer of 40cm of silt which they traced to the Jordan River.
They also found Roman pottery but there were no Byzantine objects.
The discovery is significant because it was under the legal jurisdiction of Herod Philip and not Antipas.
Bethsaida was a central part of the life of Jesus and his apostles.
Experts hope that the more that can be found out about the biblical city of Bethsaida, the more can be understood about its place in the Bible.