Magdala continues to be a great archaeological attraction since the initial excavations began in 2009. In that year we found the “jewel” of Magdala, which is the first century synagogue, along with the Magdala Stone and other significant elements.
In the subsequent years new discoveries continue to be unearthed – for it is in this location that a large percentage of the ancient first century town of Magdala is buried.
We want to share with you some news about the work that has been conducted during the 2015 archaeological season. Work began on June 1st and concluded on August 15th, for a total of 62 working days.
The archaeological project continues to be directed by Universidad Anáhuac de México Sur, under the direction of Prof. Marcela Zapata-Meza. Fifty volunteers from Mexico, Spain, England, Honduras, Germany, Italy, France, USA, Chile, as well as Israelis and Palestinians participated in the dig. As in past seasons, we have worked alongside and in coordination with the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
New this year was the fact that we hosted students and professors from the University of Vitoria of Spain (Universidad de Vitoria de España), the Mexican National School of Anthropology and History (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia), and the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museology (Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía).
This season the dig focused on a total archaeological area of 360 square meters with a depth between 60 to 420 centimeters.
The main findings during the 2015 excavation period have been:
- The continuation of the street which connects the synagogue to the villa area with the Mikvaot (Jewish Ritual Baths)
- A large room with a basalt floor and benches surrounding it
- A milling stone
- And the “jewel” of this season´s excavations, a fourth mikveh, also fed by natural spring water.
The objects found so far this year include among others:
- Ceramic used for domestic activities
- Ceramic used for ritual activities
- Ceramic imported from Rome (Terra Sigilata)
- Miniature glass objects
- Various metal objects, 10 nails, 1 pendant, 3 accessories
- A bowl used for wine or water in perfect condition
- 240 coins mainly from the first century
It is worth noting that several archaeology and restoration students have begun their B.A., M.A., and PhD theses on Magdala.
- Andrea Garza – Coins
- Rafael Cruz – Fishing Industry and fishing weights
- Luis Jurado – Historic Sources and Archaeology
- Emmanuel Glesshman – Architecture of the Synagogue
- Mariel Mera – Ceramic
- Brenda Zapata – Glass
- Rosaura Sanz – Semiotics and Iconography of the Mosaics in Magdala.
- Alicia Colmero – Virtual Reconstruction.
This year we also had the opportunity to receive input from Spanish geologist Luis Miguel Martinez Torres.
Further restoration work was completed on several pieces of ceramic and stone, as well as the consolidation of various stucco walls and lime floors.
Magdala would like to sincerely thank all the personnel who dedicated their summer to the archaeological work at Magdala. We would also like to express thanks from our hearts to our friends and benefactors whose generous support made this possible.
We had an extremely hot summer, which specialists noted is the hottest since 1981. Our archaeologists and volunteers sometimes endured temperatures that reached 48° C/118° F. These volunteers definitely deserve major recognition for their outstanding effort and commitment to Magdala.
With each archaeological season we learn a little bit more about the life and customs of the first century. For Jews this was the time period of the Second Temple and for Christians, it is the time of Jesus and the first generation of his followers.
For those who would like to come next year, please do not wait. Send your application right away, as there is growing interest every day and an increase in applicants. You can receive more information by sending an email to: email@example.com