The following report was prepared by Jim (Yaakov) Fleming, BAR’s Jerusalem correspondent and Director of BAR’s Summer Seminar in Israel.
The first BAR-sponsored excavations took place last summer—appropriately enough—in Jerusalem.
Not only did BAR members supply some of the funds to support the excavations, but much of the active work was carried out by the participants in BAR’s 6-week summer seminar in Israel.
We dug at two sites: One was on Mount Zion and the other was adjacent to the Scottish Church of St. Andrew’s near the Hebron Road.
The digging uncovered remains of a Byzantine church, a Roman road, what may have been the famous Gate of the Essenes from the New Testament period, as well as evidence of occupation from the Israelite monarchy. Some of the finds were stunning, including rare gold on silver objects from the Israelite period. (Unfortunately, these were uncovered just days after the BAR participants left the dig.) Other finds included a scarab, signet rings, fragments of ivory carvings, Babylonian arrowheads as well as massive architectural features and plenty of ever-present pottery.