For archaeologists, Mary Magdalene’s hometown is the gift that keeps on giving.
The Magdala Stone will be visiting Europe this year from May 15 to July 23 as part of an exhibition the Jewish Museum of Rome co-sponsored by the Vatican. The stone is decorated with carvings that depict the oldest menorah found to date and the only merkabah (a Jewish mystical symbol also known as the throne-chariot or chariot of fire) found in Israeli archaeology, Romanowsky explains.
More recently, four ritual baths (mikvot) were also discovered in Magdala, thanks to the efforts of the Magdala Archaeological Project and the Anahuac University of Mexico. As explained by Biblical Archaeology, the presence of both the eight synagogues of Magdala, plus the Magdala Stone, and now these four ritual baths, help us now understand Magdala was indeed a bustling Jewish city with an active religious life, and not only (as thought of until recently) just an important commercial center of the western coast of the Sea of Galilee, better known for its active fresh and salted fish trade.
If you want to know more about these recent excavations, you can read Marcela Zapata-Meza and Rosaura Sanz-Rincón’s article “Excavating Mary Magdalene’s Hometown,” as recommended by Biblical Archaeology and published in the May/June 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
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