1 February 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

The earliest known depiction of biblical heroines Jael and Deborah was discovered at a Jewish synagogue in Israel

The earliest known depiction of biblical heroines Jael and Deborah was discovered at a Jewish synagogue at Huqoq in Israel,

A team of specialists and students led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Jodi Magness recently returned to Israel’s Lower Galilee to continue unearthing nearly 1,600-year-old mosaics.

The team continues its 10th season of excavation this summer at a synagogue in the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq in Lower Galilee. Discoveries made this year include the first known depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Jael as described in the book of Judges.

This season, project director Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies in Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences, and assistant director Dennis Mizzi of the University of Malta focused on the southwest section of the synagogue, which was built in the late fourth-early fifth century C.E.

The newly discovered mosaic panels depicting the heroines are made of local cut stone from Galilee and were found on the floor on the south end of the synagogue’s west aisle.

Fox eating grapes depicted in the Huqoq synagogue mosaic. Photo: Jim Haberman)
Fox eating grapes depicted in the Huqoq synagogue mosaic. Photo: Jim Haberman)

The story of Deborah, a judge, and prophet who helped Israelite general Barak defeat the Canaanite army, is found in the fourth chapter of the Book of Judges. After the victory, the passage says, the Canaanite commander Sisera fled to the tent of Jael (Yael-a Kenite woman), where she drove a tent peg into his temple and killed him.

The uppermost register of the newly-discovered Huqoq mosaic shows Deborah under a palm tree, gazing at Barak, who is equipped with a shield. Only a small part of the middle register is preserved, which appears to show Sisera seated. The lowest register depicts Sisera lying deceased on the ground, bleeding from the head as Jael hammers a tent stake through his temple.

A fragmented Hebrew dedicatory inscription inside a wreath is also among the newly unearthed mosaics, which are flanked by panels measuring 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide and depicting two vases with budding vines. The vines form medallions that frame four animals eating clusters of grapes: a hare, a fox, a leopard, and a wild boar.

Mosaic depicting the construction of the Tower of Babel. Photo: Jim Haberman
Mosaic depicting the construction of the Tower of Babel. Photo: Jim Haberman

Sponsors of the project are UNC-Chapel Hill, Austin College, Baylor University, Brigham Young University, and the University of Toronto. Students and staff from Carolina and the consortium schools participated in the dig. Financial support for the 2022 season was also provided by the National Geographic Society, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, the Kenan Charitable Trust, and the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation, and the excavated areas have been backfilled. Excavations are scheduled to continue in summer 2023.

For additional information and updates, visit the project’s website: www.huqoq.org.

Cover Photo: Israelite commander Barak depicted in the Huqoq synagogue mosaic. Jim Haberman

Banner
Related Post

According to researchers, the bones discovered underneath St. Peter’s Basilica may not be his

5 June 2021

5 June 2021

Three Italian researchers have voiced doubts about whether St. Peter’s bones are buried underneath the Rome basilica that bears his...

History, geography, and evolution are rewrites thanks to an incredible dinosaur trove discovered in Italy

2 December 2021

2 December 2021

A dinosaur trove in Italy rewrites the history, geography, and evolution of the ancient Mediterranean area. Italy is not exactly...

Shocking Images Appeared As The Waters Recede

8 February 2021

8 February 2021

As the dams recede, the remains of the flooded settlements come to light. This time Kayseri witnessed these images that...

10,000-year-old Sculptures and Figurines holding Phallus of the Taş Tepeler in the southeast Turkey

17 June 2022

17 June 2022

One of the common features of male depictions with similar features found in the region called Taş Tepeler (Stone Hills),...

Rescue work begins on a 160-year-old shipwreck, the largest and best-preserved wooden shipwreck ever discovered underwater in China

3 March 2022

3 March 2022

Rescue work has begun on a 160-year-old shipwreck in China, the largest and best-preserved wooden wreck ever discovered underwater. This...

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a stone circle in the Castilly Henge, located in Cornwall, England

20 May 2022

20 May 2022

Archaeologists have unearthed a mysterious stone circle at the center of a prehistoric ritual site near Bodmin in Cornwall, located...

Archaeologists discover Stargazer idol fragment in Turkey’s In the ancient city of Beçin

15 December 2021

15 December 2021

During archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Beçin in the Milas district of southern Turkey’s Muğla, the head of...

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of sixth-century coins in ancient Phanagoria in Russia

27 July 2021

27 July 2021

Archaeologists have discovered 80 coins known as Copper staters dating back to the sixth century at Phanagoria on the Black...

Urartian King Argishti’s shield reveals the name of an unknown country

30 January 2023

30 January 2023

The inscription on a bronze shield purchased by the Rezan Has Museum revealed the name of an unknown country. It...

The 8,000-year-old Aslantepe in Turkey has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

26 July 2021

26 July 2021

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday that a rich, 30-meter-high archaeological mound going back 8,000 years in southern Turkey has...

Archeologists Discover Two Sphinxes measure 26 feet in length in Egyptian Ruins

21 January 2022

21 January 2022

Archeologists have discovered the remains of two huge sphinx statues, each measuring 26 feet in length, at the funerary temple...

Three-room Urartian tomb with liquid offering area (libation) found in eastern Turkey

18 January 2023

18 January 2023

A three-room Urartian tomb with a rock-cut libation (liquid offering area) to offer gifts to the gods was unearthed in...

In the new images, Scotland’s biggest Pictish fort is “reconstructed.’

2 November 2021

2 November 2021

Stunning new reconstructions have revealed how Scotland’s largest known Pictish fort may have looked over one thousand years ago. Three-dimensional...

4000-year-old boat salvaged near the ancient city of Uruk one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia

6 April 2022

6 April 2022

A team of archaeologists from the Iraqi German Mission of the State Board of Antiquities and the Orient Department of...

Early Imperial cemetery in Nîmes, in the south of France

4 October 2022

4 October 2022

Inrap archaeologists excavating at Nîmes in southern France have uncovered a cemetery dating to the first to second centuries AD...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *