Areas 3 and 4

Areas 3 and 4

The most recent archaeological investigations at Capernaum focused on the area of the village situated to the east of the large gravel-surfaced road. This is where a portion of the village from the Byzantine and Arab eras developed, in the period from the fourth to the 13th/14th centuries.
A series of small secondary roads wound between the houses in an east-west direction.
Five larger residential nuclei (L222, L359, L330, L281, L241) overlooking these roads were built using sound construction techniques, evidence of the socio-economic well-being and the high quality of life enjoyed by inhabitants during the Byzantine era.
A number of businesses occupying one or two rooms were located along the street.

A large compound was made up by two very large family houses to the south and east (L222-L359) having numerous rooms and courtyards. The entrance was located in a shared hallway which led to a large open space facing onto the main street. The two houses each had a main room whose ceiling was supported by pillars, with the other rooms leading off from this. This large room was the heart of the house, in which most of the household activities were carried out and where the bread oven was located. Stone steps rose along the walls leading to the tile-covered roofs, the terraces and the second floor of the house. In a rectangular room one can still see the central column of more than two meters in height made up of four column drums. Typical small windows arranged in series opened onto the courtyards and between the rooms of the same house.

Not far from the public road, and connected via a private door to the family house to the east, a large installation for producing olive oil was put into operation during the Byzantine era (L270). Once the sacks of olives had been hauled to the site and packed into the appropriate compartments, the workers would begin the crushing process making use of the two grindstones that were perhaps put in motion through animal traction. The resulting olive mark (pulpy residue) was than squeezed in the olive press, with the oil dripping into two bowls.

With the passage of time the residential area was modified: rooms of the houses were rearranged, doors were blocked off, spaces were reassigned to different residential units, and new entryways were opened onto the roads.

During the Arab era a series of new structures, which to a certain extent copied and reutilized older ones, was built in the area near the lake, but these were permanently abandoned around the 13th century.

Areas 3 and 4