MI’ILYA, Israel — In the middle of Eilia Arraf’s home — between two living rooms, a cactus garden and a makeshift gym — there are two large pits, each containing the ruins of a church that archaeologists believe was built about 1,600 years ago.
Mr. Arraf found large sections of the church’s mosaic floors under his house in 2020, as he tried to convert his aunt’s bedroom and an olive oil storeroom into a new kitchen. The kitchen project was quickly abandoned. Instead, Mr. Arraf turned the central part of his house into an archaeological dig — and later, a minor tourist attraction.
“We did lose part of our house,” said Mr. Arraf, 69, a mustachioed electrical engineer. “But what we have underneath us is something that money can’t buy…“I check on it every day,” he said. “Just for my own joy.”