CLIP: Excavations of an ancient synagogue found in a city where Mary Magdalene is thought to have lived have thrown up clues about how the Jewish and Christian religions developed. Jewish artefacts found at the site in Migdal on the shore of the Sea of Galilee – previously known as Magdala – include a table carved with a Menorah, yet the temple itself, as well as a coin, discovered on the site dates back to the time of Jesus and the rise of Christianity in the region. Archaeologists believe this combination suggests Jews and Christians may have once used the holy site to worship together, according to Israeli news site Haaretz, and it could lead to discoveries about how and when Jesus and Magdalene met.
WHY IS MIGDAL SIGNIFICANT?
Migdal is the modern-day name for the village of Magdala, situated on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of Mount Arbel. Magdala is said to have been the hometown of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ most loyal followers. She is referred to in the gospels as Mary, and it is believed that her name was a variation of ‘Mary from Magdala’. Researchers are studying the site looking for clues about how and when Magdalene first met and began following Jesus.
The synagogue was first uncovered in 2009 dating back to the 1st Century – around 2,000 years ago. It measures 11 x 11 metres, and the walls of the room plus the six columns that supported the ceiling, which was probably made of wooden beams and mortar, would have been covered with frescoes painted in seven colours including dark red, yellow and blue panels in black and white frames. The excavation revealed the synagogue was renovated in around 40 of 50 C.E, before being abandoned shortly before 68 C.E. This year is significant because it was the time of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans. Archaeologists have also uncovered various Jewish artefacts, which Haaretz describes as ‘firsts in archaeological excavations, in Israel and even worldwide.’
However, a coin found on the site dated back to 29 A.D – a year before Jesus is said to have arrived in the area and four years before his crucifixion – making it potentially a location of interest for Christianity as well. Migdal is the modern-day name for the village of Magdala, situated on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of Mount Arbel. Magdala is said to have been the hometown of Mary Magdalene.