One of the most significant recent archaeological finds in the Holy Land, the Magdala Stone holds clues that will help scholars establish a more complete picture of first century Judaism. The Magdala Stone is likely the earliest known artistic depiction of the Second Temple.
The front of the stone depicts the oldest carved image of the Second Temple’s seven-branched menorah ever found, and it is this discovery that has produced intense excitement among the archaeologists at Magdala.
The long side of the stone depicts the side of a building with pillared archways, with three dimensional design to create the illusion of appearing inside the temple.
The back of the stone depicts a pillared structure with two wheels above a geometric shape, illustrating fire. Presumably, the front and sides of the stone carvings represent the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the back side depicting wheels and fire represents the Holy of Holies.
Also of great interest to scholars examining the stone is the large rosette on the top side of the stone, consisting of six petals surrounded by six identical petals. The symbolic meaning of this rosette has not yet been established, but the number twelve could relate to a number of biblical traditions and its prominence on the stone indicates it is certainly of great significance.
The stone is covered in decorative symbols relating to the structure of the Temple and ceremonial Jewish objects that may unlock many unsolved mysteries which have long baffled archaeologists.
The archaeological project is headed by Universidad Anáhuac México Sur (Anahuac University of Mexico – South in partnership with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico – UNAM) and the Israel Antiquities Authority
For external articles on the Magdala Stone, see below: