Excavation artifacts on display at UNO


By Beth Flynn

UNO kicked off the fourth annual Batchelder Biblical Archaeology Conference with the exhibit “Bethsaida Excavations: Life Revealed in the Layers,” Oct. 24. More than 137 artifacts were on display.

The artifacts are from Bethsaida, which means the “House of the Fisherman,” located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Starting in 1987, Rami Arav, an Israeli archaeologist, began a 10-day probe full of determination to find the site of Bethsaida. With promising conclusions, Arav gathered colleagues from all around the world to begin the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project.

UNO’s International Studies and Programs has housed the consortium since its start in 1990.

One of the many artifacts is a replica of the 5-foot stele. This is a marker placed in front of the city and is inscribed with the moon god, a bull.

Other artifacts that can be seen on display are jewelry, coins, pottery and more from the time of King David and Jesus. Another one of the most attention-grabbing artifacts is an iron house key that was found at the “Fisherman’s House.”

“This exhibit is the largest number of antiquities we’ve brought from our dig site,” said Wendi Chiarbos, coordinator of Bethsaida Excavations project.

“After 13 years of UNO supervising the excavations there it’s gratifying to be able to share them with the people of Nebraska,” she said.

UNO is the only place in Omaha where the artifacts will be displayed.

Chiarbos said the university is displaying the finds on special loan from the Israel antiquities authority.

The conference was also planned to run in conjunction with the exhibit. It began Oct. 24 and will continue through Oct. 26, with events held in the Arts and Science Hall and the William H. Thompson Alumni Center.

Two former UNO professors, Joe Seger and Richard Freund, were expected to speak at the conference as well as Charles Page from Jerusalem and H.W. Kuhn from the University of Munich.

The artifacts will be on display in Arts and Sciences Hall, Room 343 until spring of 2003. The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Chiarbos at 554-2902.


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