Archaeologists working at Hippos (Susita) on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee have uncovered the footprint of the sandal of a Roman soldier.  From the story in Haaretz:

The discovery of the print made by a hobnailed sandal, the kind used by the Roman legions during the time when Rome ruled the region, led to the presumption that legionnaires or former legionnaires participated in the construction of walls such as the one in which the footprint was found…. Prior to this finding, the sandal prints of Roman legionnaires had been discovered only in Hadrian’s Wall in Britain.

The story is brief and worth reading for more details, but one note for those who know the Bible better than the geography of the Bible: the reason that Hippos (Susita) is not mentioned in the New Testament is that it was one of the cities of the (largely Gentile) Decapolis, and Jesus’ ministry was to the Jewish people.  There were a couple of occasions when Jesus visited the Decapolis, but it appears that these were not for the purpose of ministry.  One example is the story of Jesus casting the demons into the swine (Mark 5:1-20).  This event occurred as Jesus was trying to get away from the crowds, not do more ministry.  The presence of pigs makes sense as well given that this was in an area controlled by Gentiles.  Unfortunately many scholars have really flubbed the location of this miracle.  If it was where they say (at Gergesa), then Hippos would have been mentioned by some of the gospel writers, instead of Gadara and Gerasa.  But that is a subject for another day.  All can agree that this discovery at Hippos is fascinating and instructive.


This year’s excavations at Bethsaida (et-Tell) are mentioned in a brief news report in today’s Caspari Center Media Review.

This season’s excavations have come to an end at Bethesda, with new findings related to the Iron Age gate of the city as well as the plaza in front of it. According to Dr. Rami Arav, the excavation’s director, “In the area next to the gate, we found parts of the main street that led into the city from the gate. On this paved road, from the ninth century B.C.E., we plan to lead visitors to the site from the gate.”

I haven’t seen any other reports, but you can read week-by-week summaries of excavation at the www.bethsaidaexcavation.com website.  Go here for the 2007 reports.