Dr. Jodi Magness and stunning mosaics found at Huqoq Jodi Magness, Ph.D.
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HUQOQ 2012 Season

"Monumental synagogue building discovered in excavations in Galilee"

UNC News Brief
For immediate use [Monday, July 2, 2012]

 

A monumental synagogue building dating to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (ca. 4th to 6th centuries C.E.) has been discovered in archaeological excavations at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.

(Right to left): Jodi Magness, David Amit, and Shua Kisilevitz with the Huqoq mosaicThe excavations are being conducted by Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-directed by David Amit and Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the sponsorship of UNC, Brigham Young University in Utah, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Toronto in Canada, and the University of Wyoming. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools are participating in the dig.

Huqoq is an ancient Jewish village located approximately two to three miles west of Capernaum and Migdal (Magdala). This second season of excavations has revealed portions of a stunning mosaic floor decorating the interior of the synagogue building. The mosaic, which is made of tiny colored stone cubes of the highest quality, includes a scene depicting Samson placing torches between the tails of foxes (as related in the book of Judges 15).  In another part of the mosaic, two human (apparently female) faces flank a circular medallion with a Hebrew inscription that refers to rewards for those who perform good deeds.

“This discovery is significant because only a small number of ancient (Late Roman) synagogue buildings are decorated with mosaics showing biblical scenes, and only two others have scenes with Samson (one is at another site just a couple of miles from Huqoq),” said Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the department of religious studies in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Our mosaics are also important because of their high artistic quality and the tiny size of the mosaic cubes. This, together with the monumental size of the stones used to construct the synagogue’s walls, suggest a high level of prosperity in this village, Hebrew or Aramaic inscription in the Huqoq mosaic flanked by female facesas the building clearly was very costly.”

Excavations are scheduled to continue in summer 2013.

Note: Magness can be reached at magness@email.unc.edu.

Photos: Jim Haberman

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Kim Spurr, (919) 962-4093, spurrk@email.unc.edu

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LINKS TO THE STORY:

Media Line

MSNBC

EPOC - Spektrum der Wissenschaft

UNC announcement

 

Female face in the Huqoq mosaic

Huqoq is an ancient Jewish village near Migdal, the hometown of Mary Magdalene, and close to Capernaum, the center of Jesus' Galilean ministry. In June 2011, Dr. Magness began a new dig at Huqoq, which had never before been excavated.

Click the following links to see information about each season:

2011 Season 2012 Season 2013 Season

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Biblical Archaeology Review - BAR - Scholar's Update: New Mosaics from the Huqoq Synagogue

 

ALL PHOTOS BY AND © JIM HABERMAN UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

 

University of North CarolinaIn addition to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
the excavations at Huqoq are sponsored by the following
consortium members:
Brigham
Young Univ.
Trinity
University (TX)
  University of
Toronto (CAN)
University of
Wyoming
BYU   University of Toronto Canada University of Wyoming -Huqoq Project Sponsor

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