According to archaeologists, a biblical-era town has recently been discovered along the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest freshwater lake. Reports suggest that the town is 2,000 years old, and may have been described in the Gospel of Mark.
This ancient town is believed to be Dalmanutha, according to recent interpretations from the Gospel of Mark. According to scripture, Jesus sailed to this location after famously multiplying loaves of bread and fish to feed the hungry masses.
Archaeologists working in the region also discovered a famous boat, which also dates back to around 2,000 years ago. The vessel was originally located in 1986, around the shoreline of the newly uncovered town, quickly becoming known as the “Jesus Boat,” despite any evidence to suggest that Jesus sailed the seas aboard it.
A team of experts have already combed the area for biblical clues. Thus far, the investigators conjecture the town was relatively affluent, boasting “vessel glass and amphora.”
The finding of stone anchors, alongside the ancient, 2,000-year-old boat, and the geographical location suggest a connection with fishing. Also, the town is situated a mere 150 meters from another aged town, called Magdala. Magdala is renowned for its association with Mary Magalene, who is alleged to have been born here.
During investigation of the fields that lie between the sea coast and Migdal (the modern-day town of Magdala), situated in the Northern District of Israel and established in 1910, hundreds of pottery artifacts were located. An approximation of their date suggests they can be traced back to around the first century Before Christ.
In addition, the remains of the area suggest that adopters of a polytheistic religion resided alongside Jewish inhabitants, sharing the same community. This assertion is partly based upon the finding of tesserae cubes and segments of limestone vessels.
The tesserae cubes, also known as abaculus, are colored fragments that are assembled to form geometric patterns and pictures. The Byzantines typically used tesserae with gold leaf, sandwiching it between two glass segments to cast a rich, luminous effect.
Some of the most notable finds, however, were actually found in Migdal. Quite incredibly, the citizens of Migdal were using the architectural remains as modern-day furnishings. According to Live Science, some townsfolk had turned the ancient artifacts into seats and garden ornaments, whilst others had simply discarded them, believing them to be worthless scrap.
However, after enquiring with the people of Migdal, the researchers managed to establish that the architectural remains had been found, in and around the local area. Therefore, it is quite plausible that they had been retrieved from, what is thought to be, Dalmanutha.
According to the Huffington Post, Ken Dark of the University of Reading, U.K., who was part of the team that discovered the ancient town, remains uncertain as to whether the town is genuinely Dalmanutha. The archaeological site appears to be of the correct size. Moreover, Dalmanutha has not been linked to any other ancient archaeological point of interest.
During a lecture in June, however, Ken Dark had this to say:
“It is hard to imagine that a Roman-period coastal community of this size is nowhere mentioned in textual sources, and the site might be identified with one of the unlocated toponyms known from the Bible, perhaps the Dalmanutha of Mark 8:10.”
Others remain somewhat more skeptical on the matter, however. Author Joel L. Watts firmly believes that Dalmanutha simply does not exist. Watts was author of Mimetic Criticism and the Gospel of Mark. He maintains the findings are not consistent with biblical scripture.
Of course, much more research is needed before the identity of the archaeological site can be definitively substantiated. Although the 2,000 year-old town dates back to around the time of Christ, as is always the case with ancient finds, much uncertainty remains over its true origins. Perhaps, in the future, further mysteries will be unearthed along the Sea of Galilee?
Written by: James Fenner