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Joined: 2011/7/29
Posts: 683
northern USA

 Stunning Synagogue Floor Discovered in Galilee

NOTE: This article appeared as headline news in Arutz Sheva7 today, Sunday 7/02/2012, and there were photos in the article but they are not able to appear here so if you want to see them and read the article there here is the link:


Mosaic floor of 1,700 year old synagogue shows Samson placing torches between the tails of foxes.

By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/2/2012, 9:23 AM

From the mosaic.
Jim Haberman
A monumental synagogue building dating to the Late Roman period (around the 4th-5th centuries CE) has been discovered in archaeological excavations at Huqoq in the Galilee.

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 – ed.],” said Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 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, as the building clearly was very costly.”

The excavations are being conducted by Prof. Magness and 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 and the University of Toronto in Canada. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools are participating in the dig.

Excavations are scheduled to continue in the summer of 2013.

Woman's head, inscription in Hebrew. Jim Haberman

Dig leaders with mosaic. Jim Haberman

Tags: archaeology

 2012/7/2 2:36Profile

Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732

 Re: Stunning Synagogue Floor Discovered in Galilee

What an incredible discovery. There is an equally old floor mosaic on display in my home town that was recently discovered under a street in Lod Israel. When you are in the presence of this ancient floor, there is an uncanny connection with the human hands and feet that once built and walked upon it. Beneath the tiny stones in the foundation mortar are distinct impressions of the bare feet of the workers who created the mosaic.

It is conceivable that some of these feet belonged to craftsmen who were members of some of the earliest church communities. It's a stretch, but the thought is intriguing just the same!


Mike Compton

 2012/7/2 7:45Profile

Joined: 2012/6/3
Posts: 36


I agree! I have been researching synagogue's for a book I'm preparing to write and am thrilled to find out about this. It is interesting imagery to see(?) the feet of those who may have walked where Jesus walked.

 2012/7/4 2:38Profile

Joined: 2011/7/29
Posts: 683
northern USA


Fascinating. I would think it must almost feel 'spooky' to gaze upon the footprints of a generation that lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. Thank you both for sharing.

Compton, i did not know you were a native Israeli!

Drhumm, what prompted your interest in synagogues and your interest in writing such a book?

 2012/7/4 3:48Profile

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