Jesus Boat

Two amateur archaeologists fishermen brothers, Moshe and Yuval Lufan, stumbled across the outline of something, which might look like a buried boat in 1986. It was on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee, near Migdal, the home of Mary Magdalene.

Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar
Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar

The design of the boat was typical of ancient boats in the Mediterranean region during the time of Jesus. The planks of the hull were edge-joined with joints held in place with wooden pegs, a rounded stern and a fine bow. The boat had been used for nearly a century.

Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar
Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar

At the end of its life, the fishermen removed all useful wooden parts, including the mast, stem post and stern post for spare parts. Then they pushed it out into the lake, where it sank in the silt.

The problem started because of the media hype, demonstrating ultra-Orthodox Jews in nearby Tiberias and the local weather.

Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar
Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar

The media hype following the discovery forced archaeologists to attempt an immediate excavation. The Ministry of Tourism was hoping for attracting more Christian pilgrims, the ultra-Orthodox Jews were demonstrating against the prospect of a boost to Christian missionary efforts and rains had begun.

Then excavators and volunteers was forced to work around the clock for 11 days, to released the Jesus Boat from its muddy surroundings.

Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar
Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar

The Jesus boat is 8.3 meters (27 feet) long, 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) wide and 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) high. This size would have enabled it to carry up to 15 people. Conservation of its waterlogged timbers then took 11 years and was in the year 2000 permanently displayed Yigal Allon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar, near where it was discovered.

4 Comments

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