Christian archaeologists who have spent decades looking for the lost Roman city believed to be the birthplace of three of Jesus' apostles may have finally found what they were looking for in the upper Jordan Valley.
A team led by Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology head Dr. Mordechai Aviam may have uncovered the city of Julias during excavations at Beit Habek in Bethsaida, a former fisherman's village north of the Sea of Galilee which was referred to in the Bible several times. The New Testament pointed to the lost city as the home of Jesus' apostles Andrew, Peter, and Philip, The Jerusalem Post detailed.
Although the exact location of the lost city is still being debated on, Dr. Aviam pointed to several significant clues they found which would support the idea that the site was indeed Julias. He said that the existence of a bathhouse, which was uncommon in the area during the Roman era, will surely spark interest among Christian scholars.
"A layer from the Roman period was discovered in the current [excavation] season, with potsherds and coins from the first to the third centuries CE," Dr. Aviam said on Aug. 6. "The layer from the Roman period was found at a depth of 2 meters below a layer from the Byzantine period. Our main surprise was that at the bottom of the excavation, in a limited area, a wall of a building was discovered, next to which was a mosaic floor and artifacts that characterize a bathhouse."
Aviam said they will continue the excavation at the site until they find definitive clues to confirm the identity of the lost city of Julias.
Last month, Jezreel Expedition head Dr. Norma Franklin discovered clues in the Jezreel Valley which could prove that the Biblical story about Naboth's vineyard is true. She used laser technology to find the biggest ancient winepress to date found in Israel and more than 100 bottle-shaped pits embedded into the bedrock which were probably used for wine storage, Breaking Israel News reported.
Dr. Franklin's findings led her to believe that the story about King Ahab's conflict with Naboth over the latter's vineyard could have happened in the Jezreel Valley. However, some Bible scholars may not agree with her since there is still no way to determine the exact location of Naboth's vineyard and the date when it was built.