Archaeologists have conducted annual excavations at the synagogue in Huqoq, an ancient village in Israel’s lower Galilee region, every year since 2011. Last month, a team including students and staff from four North American universities unearthed what might be the most stunning find yet: two mosaic panels depicting the story of Noah’s Ark and the parting of the Red Sea. The panels, described as extremely rare for their content and quality, were found decorating the nave floor of the synagogue, which dates back to the fifth century A.D. during the Late Roman period.
One of the mosaic panels shows the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark (from the book of Genesis, chapters 6-9) with pairs of lions, leopards, snakes, bears, elephants, ostriches, goats, sheep and other animals shown alongside the ark itself. The other vividly depicts the parting of the Red Sea (from Exodus 14:26), complete with large fish swallowing soldiers in the Egyptian army, overturned chariots and drowning soldiers and horses. Last month, a team of archaeologists discovered these two stunning mosaics on the nave floor of the synagogue in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq, located in the lower part of the northern Israeli region of Galilee. The mosaics surfaced during the fifth season of excavations of the Huqoq site. The team uncovered the first mosaic there back in 2012, a year after excavations began. Currently, the Huqoq Excavation Project includes experts from the Israeli Antiquities Authority as well as students and staff from Baylor University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto.
Photo: Jim Haberman/Baylor University