Archaeologist Dr. Ken Dark of the University of Reading (Berkshire, England) and a team currently in the midst of a field survey study, have claimed to have potentially discovered the location of an ancient city known as Dalmanutha in modern day Israel. Dark and his team have managed to unearth artifacts leading to this assertion in a location slightly north of the present-day city of Tiberias, Israel. The primary bulk of evidence has been collected on the northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee in what is known as the Ginosar valley (Israel).
The discovery is not quite set in stone (so to speak), and the claim is still under scrutiny among those familiar with the area and the history of this alleged biblical city. Although the current findings can only be deemed speculative, the mass of data recorded by the team has many people asking if this could indeed be the location of the archaic township they are presenting it as. To date, Dalmanutha has yet to have any objective link to a specific location making Dark’s contention completely plausible. Many who have commented about the find have stated that it is unlikely that this hypothesis will ever be validated as fact. Regardless of whether or not anyone will ever be able to prove that this was the site of the city, the items the team have presented are said to be over 2,000 years old.
Throughout history Dalmanutha was a city who’s existence was only truly discussed in the Bible. Dalmanutha is mentioned in a few verses throughout the New Testament as the city Jesus sailed to after “feeding the five thousand people” (by performing the miracle of multiplying fish and bread – the only “miracle” described in all four gospels). The city is mentioned in both the Gospel of Matthew and of Mark. In both instances of scripture, Dalmanutha is implied as a naval/port community which is what directed Dr. Dark and his team to think that this was in fact it’s location.
The artifacts found at the site included: pottery remains, tiles, weights, and stone anchors – insinuating that the location was pretty certainly a fishing/boating based district. In addition to supporting the naval theories, the pottery items found suggest that throughout history, the location was probably home to Jewish people and others who may have held polytheistic beliefs, both coexisting at the same time periods.
These items were said to have “clearly” been from a thriving economical area around the 1st century A.D. Dark and his team found samples of “vessel glass and amphora”, both entities commonly associated with a prosperous region. Dr. Dark, who obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in England, stated, “the vessel glass and amphora hint at wealth.” Dark continued to mention more of his findings in his article recently published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly Journal, “Weights and stone anchors, along with the access to beaches suitable for landing boats – and, of course, the first-century boat.”
Biblically speaking, Dalmanutha is associated with the vicinity of Magdala according to scripture. Magdala, or Magadan, is allegedly said to have been the home and birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Matthew 15:39 speaks of Jesus’ departure to Magadan (more specifically the city of Dalmanutha): “After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.” It is again, later discussed in Mark 8-10, “he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.”