Ancient History

What did you do on your summer vacation? For a team of undergraduate students from Nazareth College, summer school was something to write home about: Rather than tanning on the beaches of Lake Ontario, these students got their share of sun on an archaeological dig in Israel.

For two weeks last summer, Associate Professor of Anthropology Otieno Kisiara taught Anthropology 341: Archaeology of Bethsaida in the field, instead of the classroom. Kisiara led the Nazareth team, which included students Meg Aloi '09, David Jablonski '10, and Alyssa Morsch '10. The team collaborated with Associate Professor Nicolae Roddy from Creighton University (Omaha), who organized the trip and oversaw a team of Creighton students. Roddy, a leading Bethsaida scholar, explains the importance of the site:

"Bethsaida, a recently rediscovered city located near the northern shore of the biblical Sea of Galilee, was founded in the 10th century B.C.E...Nearly a millennium later Bethsaida came to be one of the most frequently mentioned cities in the New Testament as a center for the activities of Jesus of Nazareth and the home of his first disciples...Just a few generations later Bethsaida lay abandoned and in ruins, covered over by the dust of the ages until its identification in the early 1990s." (From

Such collaborations are a hallmark of a Nazareth education. By combining history, sociology, archaeology, religious studies, geography, and other disciplines, Kisiara adds that the trip "captures the essence of the Nazareth interdisciplinary experience."

Jablonski, an ambitious language and international studies double major (with history and economics minors), shares his dispatches from the dig with a collection of photos and insights.