Archaeologists may have found lost city of Julias

Roman-era town was home to several major Christian figures, written about by Josephus.

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff,

archaeological sit (illustration)
archaeological sit (illustration)
Yonatan Sindal/Flash 90

Researchers may have found the home town of Peter and two other early Christian leaders near the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in northern Israel, an archaeologist said Monday.

Israeli and American archaeologists have likely uncovered the lost Roman city of Julias near the banks of the lake, also known as Lake Tiberias, Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archeaology said.

First century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote that Julias was built around 30 CE on the ruins of Bethsaid, a fishing village.

Archaeologists have long sought to locate Julias, focusing their search on three different sites.

Aviam told AFP that one of the sites, the only one so far excavated, was believed to be the correct site.

"We have uncovered fragments of pottery, coins, and the remains of a public bath, which tends to prove that it was not a small village, but a town which may correspond to Julias," he said.

"Based on these findings, we believe this site is likely to be located at the site of Bethsaida."

The site, not far from the Jordan River, is a few hundred meters from Lake Tiberias.

Water levels would have been far higher during the first century.

Work is also being carried out on another site a few kilometers away, Aviam added.

He said he hoped further excavations would reveal evidence from pre-Roman times, including ancient Jewish remains, which could help verify whether the site is Bethsaida.

The site will not immediately be opened to the public, he said.


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