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Bible Scenes Unearthed in Ancient Synagogue

Huqoq mosaic 2012 A mosaic discovered on an earlier excavation (photo: Jim Haberman)

Jodi Magness, a professor of archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, travels to Huqoq, Israel, (an ancient Jewish village three miles west of Capernaum) every June with a team of specialists to excavate the ancient ruins. Last month, they made some exciting discoveries.

National Geographic reports

Archaeologists excavating a Roman-era synagogue at the site of Huqoq, Israel, have uncovered two new panels of a mosaic floor with instantly identifiable subjects—Noah's ark, and the parting of the Red Sea during the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

"You can see the pharaoh's soldiers with their chariots and horses drowning, and even being eaten by large fish," says excavation director Jodi Magness, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Such images are extremely rare in this period. "I know of only two other scenes of the parting of the Red Sea in ancient synagogues," Magness explains. "One is in the wall paintings at Dura Europos [in Syria], which is a complete scene but different from ours—no fish devouring the Egyptian soldiers. The other is at Wadi Hamam [in Israel], but that's very fragmentary and poorly preserved."

Tags: Facts and Findings

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