The Sea of Galilee Boat Excavation

One of the many places to go in Israel is the Yigal Allon Museum on the grounds of Kibbutz Ginosar. Here we can find the remains of  a boat excavated from the Sea of Galilee which is dated to be about 2000 years old.

Some people call it the “Jesus Boat,” but take note, there is no actual proof that specifically links this particular boat to Jesus of Nazareth. He may have been on it, he may have not. It may well have been one of those used by his disciples when they were out to catch fish, or it may simply have been a random boat used by someone from that time period whom we know nothing about. Nevertheless, this excavation gives us an excellent picture of how boats looked like during the time of the Gospels.

On the outside, you find this majestic piece of architecture housing the museum so you can’t miss it:

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The Yigal Alon Museum (a.k.a. The Jesus Boat Museum)

About the Boat

Material: Wood, 12 types
Length: 8.2 meters
Width: 2.3 meters
Height: 1.25 meters
Capacity: 5 to 20 people

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Disclaimer: The following text is taken from the museum display itself. I do not claim ownership and only wish to give credit where it is due.

How was the boat dredged from the sea floor?

No one expected the boat to be brought to shore unharmed; some experts proposed leaving it on the site and building a display pavilion around it. The perfect solution was found to be polyurethane foam, a light material enfolding the entire boat in a kind of floating wrapper in which the craft was free to sail into safe harbor.

During the drought of 1986 the receding waters of the Sea of Galilee yielded hints of a wooden object embedded in the silt a few hundred meters south of Kibbutz Ginosar. After 2000 years, the ancient vessel emerged from the depths into the light of day.

Archaeologists, scientists and volunteers from Kibbutz Ginosar and elsewhere toiled night and day to free the boat from the dense layer of mud that clung to it. Three days later the water table began to rise, threatening to flood the boat. An earthen bolster was hastily built around the boat, and the water was pumped out into the sea. After ten days and nights, the boat stood on safe ground.

How could the boat be wrapped on all sides without being moved?

Narrow channels were dug beneath the boat where the diggers could carefully edge their way to and fro. Fiberglass supports were attached to the boat and the channels were filled with polyurethane foam until a kind of supporting wall was created to replace the layer of mud covering the inside and the outside of the boat.

Now the boat is ready to sail… A giant dredge scooped out an opening in the earthen bolster, launching the vessel which had waited silently in its sea bed these 2000 years.

Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

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