This morning one of my friends on Facebook shared an article about the Synagogue at Magdala.
The article states that the synagogue was found recently. I guess recently is relative as I visited the site three years ago. See: Galilee Sea
During my visit to Israel this year we also visited Magdala. During my first visit I was unable to take pictures, but this time I took quite a few.
See: North of Galilee II
The sign at the entrance reads Magdala: First Century Town. It also informs you that it is the home of the Magdala Center. Currently there is no entrance fee to the site.
Magdala had an active excavation going on as workers uncover more of the town that surrounds the synagogue. We talked to a couple of the workers and they were finding some interesting items that gave good insight into the time period.
In the area surrounding the synagogue they have found at least three mikvehs. This mikveh is unique in the fact that it used flowing water. You can see the water inlet at left of the picture and the drain is hidden on the right.
Seeing mikvehs at archaeological sites from this time period really give us insight into the importance of water in Jewish worship and also the way it was used.
The synagogue at Magdala was found as foundations for a pilgrimage guest house were being dug. The Magdala Center at the site has several chapels including this one that has a boat as a pulpit. Behind the boat there is large plate glass window with a pool of water behind it. The effect for the audience is that the speaker is standing in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.
Here is the synagogue area at Magdala.
The synagogue is known by both Magdala and Migdal and was built in the Second Temple period. The synagogue would have been in existence at the time of Christ and he could have possibly visited it.
In the picture above you can see the Magdala stone. It is believed that it could have been used to hold the scrolls when they were being read. The stone is very interesting as it has the earliest known image of a menorah. The original stone is in the Rockefeller Museum, but two copies are at the site.
It will be interesting to see how they further develop this site, and also what other items they discover as they continue to excavate.
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