Time flies...

May 22th, 2024
Marcela Zapata Meza, Archaeologist
Time flies...

When we decided to raise the Mexican flag at the excavation site, we had no idea of the impact it would have.

It's been 10 years since the inauguration of the Magdala Archaeological Park, a memorable day that marked a before and after in the history of this place. This site has become a must-visit, a constant reference point for tourists and pilgrims alike. Even though it was officially opened a decade ago, Magdala has welcomed countless visitors and pilgrims since excavations began in the summer of 2010.


When we decided to raise the Mexican flag at the excavation site, we had no idea of the impact it would have. Tourist buses passing by would stop at the sight of it, not knowing what they would find upon entering. A simple flag made all the difference, and from that first day, thousands have visited Magdala.

Both archaeologists and volunteers got used to working among tourists and pilgrims who would pass by and stop to see what we were uncovering. Our work was surrounded by the interest of all these people, and it even allowed us to showcase the work of an archaeologist because, literally, they saw us with picks, shovels, trowels, and brushes, pulling buckets, carrying stones, and discovering objects. It was wonderful to see the faces of visitors when a volunteer would shout "coin!" or when they discovered an oil lamp or a pot from the soil; their reactions of amazement, surprise, and curiosity inspired us to carry on with our work.

Magdala has been a crossroads, a site of discovery not only archaeologically but also on a personal level; Magdala has transformed the lives of those who have walked its streets and sat in the synagogue, encountering "face to face" with the Magdala Stone. Without a doubt, it's a place that transports you to the past, that makes you travel to the Sea of Galilee from the 1st century BCE/CE, a place where history materializes and never ceases to amaze.

Ten years on from the inauguration of the archaeological park, I'm sure Magdala will continue to be that bridge that connects the past with the present, that crossroads between Jewish and Christian history. Magdala, for me, has always been alive, not only for bringing to light the daily life of over 2,000 years ago but also for all the people who have interacted between its past and its present.