Near the Sea of Galilee, Archaeologists Unearthed Mary Magdalene’s Hometown and a Synagogue Where Jesus May Have Preached

MAGDALA, Israel – Excitement is brewing in the ancient city of Magdala, Israel.  Archaeologists believe that a first century synagogue discovered may have been a place of worship for both Jews and Christians.  Prompting archaeologists to wonder if Jesus himself had visited this very place. First discovered in 2009, archaeologists have now unearthed another discovery.

Archaeologists who have been digging all summer next to the Sea of Galilee, are un-earthing what they believe is Magdala, an ancient first century village and synagogue which is considered the home of Mary Magdalene. Mary was one of Jesus Christ’s closest followers, a witness to his crucifixion and the first to witness to his resurrection (Mark 16:9-11).

The location of Magdalene’s home town has been known since biblical times, but centuries of neglect left the entire city under a layer of ancient dust and debris.The towns surrounding Magdala are central to the life of Jesus in the Bible. Magdala lies near the Sea of Galilee next to Capernaum, which is cited 16 times in the New Testament as Jesus’ home.


Migdal is the modern-day name for the village of Magdala, situated on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of Mount Arbel.

It’s dawn on the Sea of Galilee before an early morning dig to discover the roots of Christianity, volunteers pray. In the ruins of the ancient town of Magdala, each mound of dirt that’s moved or each bit of stone chiseled off uncovers what life was like some 2,000 years ago.

According to Israel Today, during the time of Jesus’ ministry, Magdala was the only town west of the Sea of Galilee along the shore, before Tiberius was built, and just south of Capernaum, where Jesus met Peter and not far from the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached his Sermon on the Mount.

Ancient City of Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. (Photo: CNN)

Scriptures say Jesus preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

Matthew 15:39 describes Jesus arriving at the town when he “took a boat, and came to the coast of Magdala.”

This is the only synagogue to have been discovered in the area from that time period so it’s possible that Jesus preached here.

The synagogue was first uncovered in 2009 dating back to the 1st Century – around 2,000 years ago.

It measures 11 x 11 metres, and the walls of the room plus the six columns that supported the ceiling, which was probably made of wooden beams and mortar, would have been covered with frescoes painted in seven colours including dark red, yellow and blue panels in black and white frames.


Archaeologists think this site in Magdala, Israel, is the remains of a first century synagogue.

The excavation revealed the synagogue was renovated in around 40 of 50 C.E, before being abandoned shortly before 68 C.E.

This year is significant because it was the time of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans.

“This is a holy site. I am sure of that,” said catholic priest Juan Solana. 

Six years ago,Solana purchased the land to build a Christian retreat.  Solana was required by Israeli law to excavate before building his planned retreat center. Completely by chance, he discovered a first century synagogue. Experts believe this is the exact area of Israel where Jesus himself most likely walked.


Father Juan Solana at the first-century Magdala Synagogue. (photo credit:SHMUEL BAR-AM)

Archaeologists have also uncovered various Jewish artefacts during previous excavations, which Haaretz describes as ‘firsts in archaeological excavations, in Israel and even worldwide.’ 

The team is working to restore pottery.  

Jewish artefacts found at the site in Migdal on the shore of the Sea of Galilee – previously known as Magdala – include a table carved with a Menorah, yet the temple itself, as well as a coin, discovered on the site dates back to the time of Jesus and the rise of Christianity in the region.

The coin found on the site dated back to 29 A.D – a year before Jesus is said to have arrived in the area and four years before his crucifixion – making it potentially a location of interest for Christianity as well.

One of the great archeological discoveries of our time: this 1st Century stone from a Galilee synagogue shows the Temple menorah. This stone, with carvings on each site and the top including one of a seven-branched candelabrum, was found in what was the main hall of the synagogue, which also had a mosaic floor and plaster walls.

At the center, the altar or bimah, what is now called the Magdala Stone. 

“This is the first time ever a menorah carved (pictured above)  in stone has been found out of Jerusalem,” Solana said.


“This particular Magdala Stone is the most important discovery ever made in relation to the Second Temple, the temple at the time of Jesus, which Herod redid. So that’s quite the statement,” according to Father Kelly, of the Catholic order Legionaries of Christ. “I’m pretty sure it’s a gift for the world, for culture, for religions, for Israel of course.”

“Each piece tells a story about the common life. About the cooking, about the materials… ”  Says Dr. Marcela Zapata, an Archaeologist, from the Anáhuac University of Southern Mexico City.

CNN reported the Magdala synagogue is the only one that’s been discovered in the area matching that time period. It is lined with mosaic flooring and accented with frescoes, it is considered elegant and opulent.


It’s considered ornate, with mosaic flooring and frescoes. “It is not for me. This is for millions of people who will come see this will enjoy this as I did and hopefully will be able to discover our common roots,” Solana said. 

Historians believe Jesus may have once walked the cobbled streets.  

The synagogue ruins, pictured, were first uncovered in 2009 and they are thought to date back 2,000 years.

Experts believe Magdala may be one of the most important finds discovered in Israel in the last 50 years. A bowl estimated to be more than 2000 years old was also uncovered which archaeologists say Jesus may have used to wash his hands before praying in the synagogue.

Dr. Zapata shows the town’s purification baths. “It’s the most pure water in all of Israel,” Remarkably, the baths still work to this day. “

Ritual bath at Magdala

“Today if I ask for some of the volunteers to take out all of the water and to clean the floor and steps in half hour the water starts to come again. Wow,” Zapata says. 

Archaeologists believe that all the evidence combined suggests that Jews and Christians may have once used the holy site to worship together, according to Israeli news site Haaretz, and it could lead to discoveries about how and when Jesus and Magdalene met.

The dig at Magdala is being co-directed by Israel Antiquities archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar in collaboration with Marcela Zapata from the Anáhuac University of Southern Mexico City.

It is being underwritten by the Ark New Gate Company, which is building the nearby Magdala Center.

The site will ultimately have a visitor’s centre, hotel, restaurant and inter-faith chapel built around the ruins .

“It is not for me,” Solana said. “This is for millions of people who will come see this will enjoy this as I did and hopefully will be able to discover our common roots.”

I get “God bumps.”  when I read these stories, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ coming alive again, proving the bible is the LIVING word of GOD!

In the Faithful Service of Jesus Christ, 

Lisa Muhar

Source:Christian Examiner

Join us at:  He Is Coming -Are You Ready?

Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and rose again for the sole purpose of saving us from our sins.  Are you saved?  The bible declares that “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13 (KJV). Salvation is turning your life over to Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus is the son of God, and renewing your mind with his spirit, that is done through repentance of sin, and following JESUS with all your heart, mind and soul. JESUS transforms lives, if you are ready for this life saving step, call upon your savior TODAY! Learn more here.


Unearthing God’s Word in the form of living artifacts should be viewed as prophetic, as it proves that God’s Word endures forever, just as he said!

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” – Matthew 24:14 (KJV). 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35 (KJV). 

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – Isaiah 40:8 (KJV).

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 (KJV). 

 “…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” – Daniel 12:4 (KJV).  

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof – Psalm 102:14 (KJV).

BIBLICAL FACT:  When people hear of Mary Magdelene, she is often remembered to be a prostitute. However, we find no proof of this in scripture. The bible never indicates that Mary was involved in sexual sin. What it does say is that Mary was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection, and that she had previously been possessed by seven demons (Luke 8:2). 


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