World Report

Biblical images unearthed in ancient Galilee synagogue

Prof. Jodi Magness 

Images depicting Noah’s Ark and Moses’ parting of the Red Sea have been uncovered at an ancient synagogue in Galilee.

The mosaic images are the latest find in a long-term excavation taking place at the 5th-Century Huqoq synagogue. 

The site is already famous among archaeologists for the wealth of its mosaics, with images of beasts and warriors known to exist in a handful of other synagogues of that era. 


According to the University of North Carolina (UNC), which is working on the excavation in partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority: “The panel with Noah’s Ark depicts an ark and pairs of animals, including elephants, leopards, donkeys, snakes, bears, lions, ostriches, camels, sheep and goats. The scene of the parting of the Red Sea shows Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by large fish, surrounded by overturned chariots with horses and chariot drivers.”

 “This is by far the most extensive series of biblical stories ever found decorating the mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue,” said Prof. Jodi Magness of the UNC team . “The arrangement of the mosaics in panels on the floor brings to mind the synagogue at Dura Europos in Syria, where an array of biblical stories is painted in panels on the walls.”