El Araj Archaeological Dig


June 15 - 29, 2018

Join Us

Join the Center for Holy Lands Studies in partnership with other academic institutions for a third season archaeological dig in Khirbet el-Araj, Israel, a possible location for the New Testament site of Bethsaida. Led by premier Galilee archaeologist Dr. Mordechai Aviam, the excavation is a continuation of a 2014 shovel testing survey of Khirbet el-Araj, which uncovered pottery, architectural fragments, and pieces of mosaic tiles. 
El-Araj is indeed a possible site for New Testament Bethsaida. 
The trip is open to the public. Participants in the CHLS dig will stay in Migdal, Galilee - and have the opportunity to tour several additional sites, including Chorazin, Tiberias, Capernaum, Masada, Qumran, the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, and more. College and university students may work with their institutions to earn credit for their participation. Dr. Mark Jenkins (Evangel University) will be there as CHLS' field archaeologist. 

About Bethsaida 

Bethsaida (House of the Fisherman), with Chorazin and Capernaum, was the location for the majority of Jesus' ministry. Several of His disciples came from Bethsaida (John 1:44), and it was one of the cities that Jesus severely chastised for their lack of repentance (Matthew 11:20-24).
For the past 20 years, an excavation at the site of Et-Tell, which is 1.5 miles north of the Lake of Galilee, has been identified as Bethsaida. However, there are a number of difficulties both with the location and with archaeological finds. Distance from the lake makes it improbable that Et-Tell would have been a fishing village. However, El-Araj is located on the shores of the lake, and its elevation is consistent with Capernaum and other fishing villages.

All registration and payment information will be handled through Emmaus Educational Services. If you would like to apply and register for Session 1 at the El Araj archeological dig, click here and navigate to the 'application' tab. 

If you have any questions, please contact our office at:

Center for Holy Lands Studies 
1445 N. Boonville Ave
Springfield, MO
417-862-2781 ext. 3590


Office Hours:

Monday - Friday

8am - 4:30pm (CST)

Center for
Holy Lands Studies

1445 N Boonville Ave

Springfield, MO 65802



1-855-700-CHLS (2457)

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© 2018 by the Center for Holy Lands Studies