Magdala: Birthplace of a Matriarch
Magdala is not just a fascinating archaeological site, but it is also a major discovery holding tremendous significance for Christianity. The city of Magdala is said to be the home of Mary of Magdala, so it has obvious religious significance to any Christian tourist in Israel. Found in the expansive Galilee section of Israel, this city, it’s excavations, and everything else surrounding it is a fantastic way to spend the day. So, head north the next time you’re in Israel, and here’s what you’ll discover.
Major Excavation Site
Magdala became a more prominent topic in 2007-2008 when a team of excavators decided to start digging up the past to see what they’d find. What they unearthed was more than a few rocks and dirt.
The first discovery they found when digging began was a stone bench. Further inspection revealed this bench to be a part of a first-century synagogue, a major find for historians. Incidentally, this is one of only seven synagogues from that time period to have been discovered and the only one to exist in this area. One of the reasons this synagogue is so significant is because, as the obvious location of several Jewish worshippers during the time of Jesus’ ministry, it marks the commonality that exists between the two religions. The famous Magdala Stone was found at this time, as well.
As the explorers continued digging, they found the remnants of an entire town, that of Magdala, hometown to Mary Magdalene. Within the town, experts identified three ritual baths, pottery dated from the Second Temple period, coins, Roman weaponry, and the local market place.
Always a Controversy
As with most Biblically-sited areas, there is some dispute as to where the actual location of Magdala is. There is only one New Testament reference to the city (cited in Matthew 15:39 "And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala".) So, the only sure evidence is that it is off the coast of the Galilean Sea.
All of these amazing discoveries can be viewed when you visit the fascinating site of Magdala on your next trip to Israel.