A Rare Medieval Synagogue Near Sea Of Galilee Unearthed

First Posted: Jan 24, 2017 02:03 AM EST

Archaeologists found the remains of a possibly ancient medieval synagogue at the site of Huqoq, which is a village near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The synagogue contains stunning mosaics that include the montage of the story of Noah's Ark.

Jodi Magness, the director of the Huqoq excavation project, explained that the monumental public building was erected on the same spot as the late Roman synagogue, reusing some of the earlier structure's architectural elements, but expanding it in size. She further explained that the building would likely use as a church, a mosque or a synagogue.

It is theorized that the synagogue was constructed during the 12th to 13th centuries. It is situated on top of the ruins of a fifth century Roman synagogue. During these centuries, the Crusaders and Mamluks (a Muslim people) fought for control of the area around Huqoq, according to CBS News.

The archaeologists also discovered that the medieval building contains benches lining the east, north and west walls. This indicates that the medieval building could possibly be a synagogue. Magness stressed that such benches could be found in synagogues.

On the other hand, Magness added that they had not found any historical information about a Jewish population in the area during that time. Arnold Franklin, a study researcher and a history professor at Queens College of the City University of New York, said that he had found very little evidence of a Jewish presence in the area, which makes this structure both extremely exciting and frustrating, as noted by WDEF.

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