Home News Archaeologists Discover Lost City of Bethsaida

Archaeologists Discover Lost City of Bethsaida

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Bethsaida excavations
Dueling Bethsaida excavations: (clockwise from top left) Bronze coin from e-Tell, team member at el-Araj, mosaics found at el-Araj, city gate at e-Tell excavation site. (Courtesy, Times of Israel)
According to the Times of Israel, researchers said the bathhouse’s discovery denotes the existence of a large advanced city in the area.

Archaeologists say they have discovered the lost Roman city of Bethsaida that was home to three of Jesus’ apostles—Peter, Andrew and Philip—on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

In the New Testament, Bethsaida is a place of numerous miracles. Here, Jesus cured a blind man, turned a few loaves and fishes into food for 5,000, and walked on water.

But mysteriously, its location was lost. Now, dueling archaeological excavations place it in the same vicinity on the northern bank of the Sea of Galilee, but at slightly different locations.

According to the Times of Israel, researchers said the bathhouse’s discovery denotes the existence of a large advanced city in the area.

Aside from New Testament accounts, its history was chronicled solely by the Jewish leader Josephus Flavius, who recorded that Herod’s son Philip Herod turned the fishing village into a Roman polis called Julias after the mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Livia Drusilla, aka Julia Augusta.

“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city,” Dr. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College told Haaretz.

“He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture.”

The archaeologists discovered the remains of the Roman bathhouse some 700 feet below sea level, and also found pottery shards and a mosaic at the site.

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