Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 20 March |
The Solemnity of Saint Joseph
Aleteia logo

Fascinating: researchers uncover rare mosaic of Noah’s ark in ancient synagogue


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/14/16

Need an idea for Lenten almsgiving?

Help us spread faith on the internet. Would you consider donating just $10, so we can continue creating free, uplifting content?

Make a Lenten donation here


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.

Read on.

Photo: Jim Haberman/Baylor University

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More