Biblical-Era Town Discovered May Be City in Mark
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A town that reportedly dates back to more than 2,000 years ago, has been discovered on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the Ginosar valley in Israel. Yahoo reports that Ken Dark, of the University of Reading in the U.K, whose team discovered the town during a field survey, says the ancient town may be Dalmanutha, described in the Gospel of Mark as the place Jesus sailed to after miraculously feeding 4,000 people by multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread.
Mark says that after feeding 4,000 people by miraculously multiplying a few fish and loaves of bread, Jesus “got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.’Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.” (Mark 8:10-13, NIV)
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the archaeological team also determined that a boat, dating to around 2,000 years ago, that was uncovered in 1986, was found on the shoreline of the newly discovered town. The boat was reported on two decades ago but the discovery of the town just now provides information on what lay close to it. The evidence suggests the town was quite prosperous in ancient times. Dark wrote in an article published in the most recent edition of the journal Palestine Exploration Quarterly, “Vessel glass and amphora hint at wealth.” They also discovered that “weights and stone anchors, along with the access to beaches suitable for landing boats — and, of course, the first-century boat … all imply an involvement with fishing.”
The archaeologists found that some fields between the modern town of Migdal and the coast contained numerous pottery pieces dating from as early as the second or first century B.C. to up to some point after the fifth century A.D., around the time of the Byzantine Empire. The architectural remains and pottery suggest that Jews and those following a polytheistic religion lived side by side in the community and that the town survived for many centuries. The researchers found that the southern side of the newly discovered town lies only about 500 feet away from another ancient town known as Magdala.
The archaeologists found many examples of ancient architectural remains, some of which the modern-day townspeople had made seats or garden ornaments out of, or just left lying on the ground. In one instance, the researchers found over 40 basalt ashlar blocks in one garden. Among their finds were cubes called tesserae and limestone vessel fragments, which were “associated with Jewish purity practices in the early Roman period,” indicating the presence of a Jewish community in the town, Dark told LiveScience in an email.
The finds also included a pagan altar, made of light-gray limestone and used in religious rituals by those of a polytheistic faith, Dark said. Discoveries also included a number of ancient column fragments, including examples of column capitals carved in the Corinthian style.
“This settlement may have contained masonry buildings, some with mosaic floors and architectural stonework.”, Dark wrote in his paper.
“It’s likely that the newly found town’s name is among the few locations already identified by other researchers relating to the Ginosar valley shore, and one of those places is Dalmanutha.”, Dark said.
Image courtesy wikipedia