This is the web site specific for the various seasons of excavation. See the link at the menu on the left ← for the season desired. The main Bethsaida web site is at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). The web site for general information about the Bethsaida excavation, registration etc. http://www.unomaha.edu/~betsaida/
For human interest stories about the dig and its participants, do a search for Judith Schwartz at the following web site: http://www.communitycorrespondent.com/kptm/
Bethsaida is frequently mentioned in the New Testament, with at least three (Peter, Andrew, Philip) of the apostles born there. It is the place where Jesus may have performed major miracles. But, Bethsaida was never re-discovered by 20th Century archaeologists until recently. The site was of such importance to pilgrims because of its relevance to Jesus that it was believed to be a mythical city. Pilgrims, archaeologists, and travelers searched for Bethsaida for nearly 2000 years.
The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius, says that in the year 30 CE, Phillip, the son of Herod the Great, raised the village of Bethsaida to the status of a Greek city and renamed it Julias, after Livia-Julia, the wife of the late Emperor Augustus. Four years later, Phillip died and was buried at his beloved Bethsaida..
In 1987, Israeli archaeologist Dr. Rami Arav undertook a ten-day probe of et-Tell, located 2 km from the north coast of the Sea of Galilee to determine if the site was Bethsaida. His conclusions were promising, but Rami knew more work had to be done to reveal more of the ancient layers. In 1990, Rami and several colleagues from around the world joined together to form the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project, which since then has been housed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha..
In addition to uncovering the Hellenistic-Roman city, a surprising discovery happened in 1996. The remains of an Iron Age (~ 3000 years ago) 4 chamber City Gate were uncovered, which has led the scholars to find out more about the Iron Age city that no one expected to find underneath the Hellenistic-Roman remains. It is now believed the Iron Age Bethsaida was the capital of the kingdom of Geshur - notable in the Hebrew Bible for King Davidís marriage to Ma'achah, the princess of Geshur..
Bethsaida בית ציידה