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Some archaeologists have expressed concerns that et-Tell doesn’t appear to have been particularly large at the time Jesus lived; that’s a problem, as ancient accounts suggest that Bethsaida was sizable. Jodi Magness, a professor in the department of religious studies, noted that the Iron Age (1200 B.C. to 550 B.C.) remains at et-Tell are “very substantial,” indicating that it was a sizable city at that time; but importantly, the remains from the early Roman period, when Jesus lived, are “relatively scanty,” suggesting that it had become a relatively small settlement, Magness added. However, she cautioned that no conclusions should be made until the remains from both sites have been fully described.

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