Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sea of Galilee Boat

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The Sea of Galilee Boat also known as the "Jesus Boat" was an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century CE (the time of Jesus Christ), discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The remains of the boat, 27 feet (8.27 meters) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 meters), first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea (actually a great fresh-water lake) receded.[1] There is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples.

Discovery and excavation

The remains of the boat were found by brothers Moshe and Yuval Lufan, fishermen from Kibbutz Ginnosar. The brothers were keen amateur archaeologists with an interest in discovering artifacts from Palestine's past. It had always been their hope to one day discover a boat in the Sea of Galilee, where they and generations of their family had fished. When drought reduced the water-level of the lake, the two brothers examined the newly exposed beach and stumbled across the remains of the boat buried in the shore.

The brothers reported their discovery to the authorities who sent out a team of archaeologists to investigate. Realising that the remains of the boat were of tremendous historical importance to Jews and Christians alike, a secret archaeological dig followed, undertaken by members of Kibbutz Ginosar, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and numerous volunteers. Rumour spread that the boat was full of gold and the dig had to be guarded night and day. Excavating the boat from the mud without damaging it, quickly enough to extract it before the water rose again, was a difficult process which lasted 12 days and nights. The boat was then submerged in a chemical bath for 7 years before it could be displayed at the Yigal Allon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar.