D.C.-Area Archaeology Event: Samson in Stone


New mosaic discovered in the Huqoq synagogue excavations in Galilee. Photo: Jim Haberman.

On Sunday, September 11, 2016, Professor Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver the lecture “Samson in Stone: New Discoveries in the Ancient Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee” in the Washington, D.C. area. The event is hosted by the Institute for Science and Judaism and Bender JCC of Great Washington.

Since 2011, Professor Jodi Magness has been directing the excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee. The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue building paved with stunning and unique mosaics pointing to apocalyptic expectations and diversity in post-Temple Jewish practice. These images include depictions of the Biblical hero Samson and the first non-Biblical story ever discovered decorating an ancient synagogue—perhaps Alexander the Great meeting the Jewish High Priest. In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made in the summer 2016 season, and discusses their implications for Jewish religious life in ancient Galilee.

jodi-magnessProfessor Jodi Magness received her B.A. in Archaeology and History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently holds the senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, and serves as the First VP of the Archaeological Institute of America. Professor Magness has published 10 books, including The Archaeology of the Holy Land.

Click here for more information on the lecture.

As the point where three of the world’s major religions converge, Israel’s history is one of the richest and most complex in the world. Sift through the archaeology and history of this ancient land in the free eBook Israel: An Archaeological Journey, and get a view of these significant Biblical sites through an archaeologist’s lens.


Read more about the Huqoq excavations in Bible History Daily:

A Samson Mosaic from Huqoq: A Bible History Daily introduction to the Huqoq excavations.

Mosaic Inscription from a Synagogue at Horvat Huqoq: Huqoq excavator David Amit provides a translation of the mosaic text between two female faces in the Huqoq synagogue.

The Huqoq Synagogue Mosaics: Huqoq mosaics specialist Karen Britt provides a detailed artistic analysis of a Huqoq mosaic featuring an inscription and two female faces.

New Huqoq Mosaics: The 2013 excavations revealed additional depictions of Samson in the Bible and a possible portrayal of a scene from the Apocrypha.

Huqoq 2014: Update from the Field: Huqoq excavation director Jodi Magness and mosaics specialist Karen Britt discuss a new mosaic discovered during the 2014 excavation season. Could the mosaic be a depiction of the legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest?

Jodi Magness Reflects on a Lucky Discovery: In her Archaeological Views column “A Lucky Discovery Complicates Life” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, Jodi Magness reflects on the consequences of discovering stunning mosaics at Huqoq.

Huqoq 2015: New Mosaics Unearthed at Huqoq Synagogue: The Huqoq Excavation Project has uncovered more stunning mosaics during the 2015 excavations in a fifth-century C.E. synagogue in the Galilee.

New Huqoq Mosaics: Noah’s Ark and Exodus Scenes
During the 2016 season at Huqoq, mosaics depicting two well-known Biblical stories were uncovered.


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