Seventy students from northern Israel help at archaeological excavations of the biblical Magdala.
Migdal, Tuesday, December 2th, 2014. - Seventy students from Hardof Junior High School of Israel help at the excavation area and restore the first century city of Magdala, together with Christian Volunteers from Mexico, USA and Spain. The teenagers arrived last Sunday to camp until Thursday in order to help as much as possible at the archaeological Park of Magdala.
The excavation is supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority and archaeologists from Mexico. The archaeological activity is taking place at the ancient market of Magdala. The purpose is to dig, draw and clarify the map of the market of Magdala. 20% of Magdala has being excavated and includes a First Century Synagogue, dated by minted coins from 29 A.C, Mansion and Miqva'ot, ritual baths, feed by the subterranean spring water housed within two villas, and the Bimah or Magdala Stone, which is believed to represent the Holy Place in the Second Temple.
Until now, more than 1000 volunteers from all denominations around the world have been participating at the archeological excavations and care of Magdala in the last five years, since 2009.
"For us as Christians it is amazing to bring to life Magdala, since 2000 years ago the city was covered and now it is vibrant again. Magdala is the place where all can gather together in peace, and where Jewish and Christians meets in History and Faith." commented the pioneer of Magdala, Fr Juan Solana LC.
Magdala has an Archaeological Park and interdenominational worship center, DUC IN ALTUM, already open daily for visitors. More than 15,000 tourists have visited Magdala during their stay in the Holy Land. Magdala, as a tourist and cultural site expects to be one of the favorite places to visit in the Galilee area.
About the archaeological findings:
Magdala (near present day Migdal) is located on the western coastline of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and at the eastern foothills of Mount Arbel. The site has been identified with the ancient city of Migdal Nunia (Hebrew meaning: fish tower), a place that was also known as Taricheae (Greek meaning: the place of salted fish). It was the largest urban center on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee until the founding of Tiberias in 19 CE. Archeological excavations exposed a large portion of the northern quarter of Magdala primarily from the first Century.
Magdala is mentioned in both Jewish and Christian sources. Magdala is known traditionally in Christian sources as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the risen Christ and was commissioned by Jesus to inform the disciples of His resurrection. Magdala was also the home and main headquarters of Yosef ben Matityahu (the historian known as Josephus Flavius). He was governor of Galilee during the time of the Great Jewish Revolt (66-73 CE).
In the archaeological area three Mikva'ot, or ritual purification baths, housed within two highly developed buildings have been discovered. Purification in Jewish tradition is important, as it is believed to cleanse both the body and the soul. The Mikva'ot found at Magdala are two meters deep and are the only ones found from this time period that are fed by a natural water source.
In another area of the archaeological zone, archaeologists discovered a port, which was used for the fishing industry prominent in Magdala. It is very probable that fishermen landed at this port to unload their fish and other products. Nearby, a series of pools was discovered. These pools were likely used to clean and preserve fish that would be sold in the market. The archaeological excavations suggest that the fishing industry was Magdala's primary economic activity. Magdala was located in close proximity to the Via Maris, the main transportation artery throughout the Middle East. The proximity to the Via Maris, the fertile land surrounding the city, and the thriving fishing industry made Magdala one of the most important cities on the Sea of Galilee during the first century.
Address: Migdal Junction, P.O. Box 36614950