Updates from Tel Shimron and El-Araj

with Dr. Daniel Master, Dr. R. Steven Notley, Dr. Mordechai Aviam, and Dr. Jordan RyanJanuary 18, 2024
Updates from Tel Shimron and El-Araj with Dr. Daniel Master, Dr. R. Steven Notley, Dr. Mordechai Aviam, and Dr. Jordan Ryan

Join us on January 18 for an update on two archaeological hotspots in Israel: Tel Shimron and el-Araj.

Tel Shimron, which was one of the largest unexcavated mounds in Israel before the museum initiated archaeological excavations in 2016, has begun to yield its secrets after five seasons of excavation. Dr. Daniel Master will guide you through the substantial architectural remains that have been found, which range from the Bronze Age—the era of the Canaanites—through the Roman period, and their meaning for the history of Lower Galilee and the Jezreel Valley.

Then, Dr. R. Steven Notley and Dr. Mordechai Aviam will share updates from el-Araj, which they argue is the biblical town of Bethsaida. Explore the historical and religious implications of the fifth- to eighth-century basilica excavated from 2019 to 2023, which may have marked or been associated with the home of the apostle Peter. Come hear Dr. Notley and Dr. Aviam’s arguments as they review highlights from the latest excavation season.

Dr. Jordan Ryan will also speak on the role of the synagogue in the Second Temple period and how it illuminates aspects of Jesus's ministry.

Jan 18, 2024 - Jan 18, 2024
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST
Museum of the Bible and Zoom
On-Site Non-Members $14.99
On-Site Members and Students $9.99
Virtual Non-Members $9.99
Virtual Members and Students $4.99
In Person Event
Virtual Event

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Previous Discoveries at Tel Shimron

Archaeology and Manuscripts: Tel Shimron

New Research into a Biblical City, 2022 Lecture with Dr. Daniel Master

Archaeology and Manuscripts: Byzantine Bethsaida and the House of St. Peter

2023 Lecture with Dr. Steven Notley and Dr. Mordechai Aviam


Dr. Daniel Master

For more than 25 years, Dr. Master's archaeological research has been part of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon. The ancient city of Ashkelon was founded in the Stone Age and remained a major port until the end of the Crusades. This market town linked ancient highland kingdoms like Israel and Judah to lucrative Mediterranean markets. The Leon Levy Expedition has finished a new excavation, and he is working to publish the results of these seasons of digging.

Beginning in 2016, he began a new project at Tel Shimron, in Northern Israel. In cooperation with his co-director, Mario Martin of Tel Aviv University, he is investigating the largest city in the Jezreel Valley. This excavation is sponsored by Museum of the Bible. Once again, he will be investigating the Stone Age through the medieval period, but this time at an inland agricultural center.

(Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography).

Dr. R. Steven Notley

R. Steven Notley is distinguished professor of New Testament and Christian Origins on the New York City campus of Nyack College and director of the graduate programs in ancient Judaism and Christian origins. He received his PhD from the Hebrew University, where he studied with David Flusser. Dr. Notley lived 16 years in Jerusalem with his wife and four children, during which time he was the founding chair of the New Testament Studies program at the Jerusalem University College. He has been directing groups of students and laypeople to Israel and the eastern Mediterranean region for 30 years.  

Dr. Notley is the author of numerous books and articles. He continues collaborative research and publication with Israeli scholars in the fields of historical geography, ancient Judaism and Christian origins. Among his list of publications, he collaborated with Flusser on the historical biography, The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius; with Anson Rainey, the monumental biblical atlas, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World (Carta Publishing 2005); and with Ze’ev Safrai, an annotated translation of Eusebius’s important description of Roman Palestine, Eusebius, Onomasticon: A Triglott Edition with Notes and Commentary. He rejoined Safrai for their second work, a pioneering collection and translation of the earliest rabbinic parables that provide the literary and religious context for the parables of Jesus, The Parables of the Sages. Since 2016, he has served as the academic director of the el-Araj Excavation Project in its search for first-century Bethsaida-Julias, the lost city of the apostles.

Dr. Mordechai Aviam

Professor Dr. Mordechai Aviam is a professor of archaeology in the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee in the Land of Israel Studies Department, as well as the founder and director of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology. He specialized in classical archaeology and has focused on research in the Galilee area since 1977. From 1990 to 2001, he was the district archaeologist of Western Galilee in the Israel Antiquities Authority. 

Professor Aviam has years of experience accomplishing field surveys. His main excavations were: seven seasons at ancient Yodefat (Jotapata); two ancient synagogues at Baram; a Hellenistic-Roman fortress at Keren Naftali; and 10 Byzantine churches and monasteries. In the last two years, together with Samford University, Alabama, excavations at the ancient Jewish village at Shikhin; co-director of the excavations of the Roman period farmstead at Tel Rekhesh, where a first-second centuries synagogue was discovered, working together with Japanese universities. He is currently the director of the excavations at el-Araj (Bethsaida), on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Dr. Jordan Ryan

Jordan Ryan is associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and staff for the Tel Shimron excavations, where he is part of the excavation of a Jewish village from the Roman period. Dr. Ryan is the author of The Role of the Synagogue in the Aims of Jesus and From the Passion to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. His ongoing research centers on the daily life and material culture of ancient Jews living under Roman rule.

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