Bathhouses and mosaic evidence of Roman city Julias found on the shores of the Galilee; Mosaic found evidence of church

Archeologists in northern Israel believe they have found the Roman city of Julias, the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip.

The discovery was made at Beit Habek in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by a group of archeologists from the Institute of Galilean Archeology.

Julias was built on Bethsaida by the King Herod Phillipus, son of King Herod the Great. The city was named after Julias Augusta, the mother of Emperor Tiberius.

Head of the excavation, Dr, Mordechai Aviam announced the discovery on Sunday, describing the dig and evidence that led them to believe they may have found the lost Roman city.

He described the dig stating, “The layer from the Roman period was found at a depth of two meters below a layer from the Byzantine period… Our main surprise was that at the bottom of the excavation, in a small area, a wall of a building was discovered, and next to it was a mosaic floor and artifacts that characterize a bathhouse,” leading the team to believe that “beneath the surface are the remains of the lost city of Julias”.

Archeologists also found a silver coin from the period of Emperor Nero during the excavation.

The mosaic found also could be evidence of a church having been built at the home of the apostles Andrew, Philip and Peter, Aviam stating “The discovery of dozens of golden glass mosaics in the previous season and the present season attests to the fact that the church was an important and magnificent place.” He added “This is a discovery that will arouse great interest among early Christian scholars, historians of the New Testament, and scholars of the Land of Israel in general, and the Jewish Galilee during the Second Temple period in particular.”


Photo:V. Kuntsman/